By Chief Steven J. Wojnar
Dudley Police Department
The topic of using local streets for recreation was brought up to me recently. The person had a particular issue with someone riding a skateboard on the roadway. Although this may not be unusual, the main concern was the rider appeared to be texting while traveling down the street. This is something I had not witnessed before. I was asked if there were any laws prohibiting this activity and to address the dangers associated with this behavior.
Streets are designed primarily for use by motor vehicles. Pedestrians, bicycles, skateboards, and other means of travel are generally restricted to the road sides, sidewalks, and/or other authorized areas. If people using the streets engage in activities which are dangerous, accidents and serious injuries can result. Although I could not locate a specific law prohibiting texting while skateboarding, Dudley By-law Article 8 Section 5 prohibits various activities on Town streets. It states in part, “No person or persons shall in any of the public ways of the town throw stones, snowballs, sticks or other missiles, or kick a football or play at any game in which a ball is used, or engage in any other game or exercise, interfering with free, safe and convenient use of said street or highway by any persons traveling or passing along the same.” Based on this, any act which disrupts traffic flow is not allowed. Certainly a person who is texting while riding a skateboard has a greater risk of falling, swerving, etc. which can result in a direct disruption of the flow of traffic.
The overall consideration in this situation is using common sense. Texting while driving a car has been prohibited to limit distractions. This same philosophy can certainly apply to other activities. It is difficult enough for a person riding a skateboard to avoid hitting a rock, hole, or other impediment in the roadway. When you add the additional issue of texting, the risk of something happening would most likely double.
Texting while riding on a skateboard should be avoided at all times, not only while on the street. Using the roads for “games” must be avoided. Accidents or injuries can occur at any time when there is this unsafe mix of people and cars. Please make every effort to prevent these from occurring by avoiding dangerous activities and limiting your distractions.
- Wednesday, 29 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Chief's Corner