A recent smash-up between a skateboarder and pedestrian brought Saanich’s lack of skateboarding bylaws to light.
At the end of May, a Saanich resident in her 70s suffered a black eye in sidewalk crash with a skateboarder. The resident was walking up Gordon Head Road towards Ferndale Road when a young skateboarder came around a blind corner – knocking the woman over with the boarder landing on top of her. Police and paramedics were called.
The resident asked Saanich to trim shrubbery at the corner to increase visibility and ask about the policy on the use of bikes and skateboards on sidewalks.
In Saanich, sidewalks are governed by the Street and Traffic Bylaw and currently, there is nothing that addresses the use of skateboards on sidewalks, said Mayor Fred Haynes.
However, he added that staff are in the process of reworking Saanich’s transportation bylaws as part of the Active Transportation Plan.
He emphasized that e-bikes, skateboards and other forms of active transportation are only becoming more popular as residents find ways to get around without cars.
Skateboards “are not for everyone,” but are definitely “an effective way of getting around municipalities,” Haynes said. This means the District needs to address the proper use of these modes of transportation so that all users feel safe sharing roads, sidewalks and paths, he explained.
Haynes expects a report from staff on the transportation bylaw review by the end of the summer or early fall. He pointed out that reviewing the bylaws is a time-consuming undertaking and that COVID-19 has put many projects on hold.
After a 25-year ban, the City of Victoria moved to allow skateboards on downtown streets in 2015 but riders are to adhere to safety guidelines and are not permitted on sidewalks. Tickets for skateboard-related offences – including riding on the sidewalks – can lead to a $125 fine under the City’s Street and Traffic Bylaw.
Haynes was glad to see there were no serious injuries sustained during the incident in late May but noted that “it’s a concern any time a resident is injured.”
He couldn’t say what the District’s plan may be for skateboard-use but that it’s on staff’s radar and that provincial codes will be followed.
For now, Haynes asks that all road-users avoid reckless behaviour and stay to help if they’re involved in collisions and other incidents on roads and sidewalks.