OC Skateboarding Law Deserves Fresh Look

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The ban on skateboarding in Ocean City has always been perplexing and the grassroots movement underway currently may have better luck getting the city to change its current approach to skateboarding than it will with the surf beach rules.

Nobody likes the current surf beach concept of two streets selected each day and the Inlet offered during the week days. Surfers are annoyed by the congestion and most local surfers simply stay away from them in favor of Assateague or early-morning or evening sessions. Beach-goers, particularly those paying top dollar for oceanfront units, find it an inconvenience to have to walk a block north or south on the beach on certain days of the summer. Furthermore, the guess here is lifeguards don’t relish having surfing beach duties either.

There is no easy solution to the surfing beach situation and a certain level of acceptable from all involved seems to be the best solution here. One proposal that seems to be getting some private support among the local community is doubling the size of the select surfing beaches from one block to two blocks. That’s highly problematic as it will understandably so irk those beach-goers who would have to walk even further to set up their beach days.

The local citizens group may, however, have a realistic chance at some sort of relaxation of the current prohibition on skateboarding.

According to town code, “it shall be unlawful for any person to ride, propel, push or otherwise operate a skateboard on Atlantic Avenue (the Boardwalk) or any ramps, railings or benches adjoining thereto at any time; it shall be unlawful for any person to ride, propel, push or otherwise operate a skateboard on any public street, public way, public alley, public sidewalk, public lots and other public property (except for public skateboard facilities and publicly sponsored or authorized skateboard events) within the corporate limits of Ocean City between April 1 and October 1 of each year.”

This editor remembers as a kid skateboarding in the summer on Edgewater Avenue for hours and hiding behind bushes and on docks whenever police approached. Warnings from police that skateboarding was banned in Ocean City seven months of the year were often given. Citations were threatened, too.

We didn’t understand why it was illegal to ride a skateboard when bikes and roller blades were permitted. Later it was learned that the trick factor and the jumping sidewalks and the like led to the current ban some time ago.

The fledgling citizens group is interested in having a discussion regarding the ordinance and believes the ordinance could be outdated, as many use the longer skateboards prevalent today, and even the shorter ones for that matter, as a means of transportation. That’s a worthy conversation to have and a compromise of sorts could be the answer.

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