After a 25-year ban, skateboarding is now permitted on downtown streets in Victoria.
Council voted unanimously to lift the prohibition on Thursday.
“This is a bylaw that I’ve been interested in changing since I was 15,” said Coun. Jeremy Loveday.
The bylaw has yet to officially take effect though. City staff will now write the amended bylaw, which is expected to receive final approval in May.
In the meantime, Loveday moved an amendment to make skateboarding the lowest priority of bylaw officers.
“So essentially, they won’t enforce it,” he said.
Skateboarders will have to follow the same rules of the road as cyclists, except they will not be required to wear helmets or have lights at night.
Skateboarding will only be permitted on streets, not on sidewalks. This new policy applies only to the downtown core, because skateboarding has always been permitted on streets elsewhere in Victoria.
Loveday said the bylaw prohibiting skateboarding downtown, created in 1991, stemmed from a time before Victoria had a skate park.
“Most of the problems that people saw with skateboarding were with people basically using downtown as their skateboard park. That’s not the case anymore,” he said. “We’re talking about using skateboarding as an active and green mode of transportation that gets people out of their cars.”
Prior to council lifting the ban, the city conducted public surveys asking for input on skateboarding downtown.
The majority of responses were from non-skateboarders who were in favour of lifting the ban.
“[That] says that the public is on board with updating our bylaws and making them more fair,” said Loveday.
Ken Kelly, general manager of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, said skateboarders are a welcome addition to downtown.
“It makes the downtown more accessible,” he said. “Young people all love downtown . . . why wouldn’t we want them to come downtown in a way that they enjoy and is safe?”