This Dog’s Life with Ira G

July 30, 2010, 12:46 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

From Asheville, North Carolina, it’s This Dog’s Life. I’m Ira G. Each FRIDAY, of course, I pick a theme and present a story around that theme.

This week’s episode: Dear APD. You might not know this, but, outside of the Food Lion Skate Park, it’s illegal to skate anywhere in downtown Asheville. I didn’t know this, and Mom didn’t either, until we ventured out one day — she on her longboard, me running on-leash beside her, and took off for work down the quiet side streets into town. The new issue of our beloved independent weekly, the Mountain Xpress had just come out, and the cover said it all: Skateboarding is a Crime. You can read the excellent story here.

It really is a shame. I mean, longboarding (which is all about carving and cruising, not doing tricks–although, Mom wishes she was that good) is a really rad form of alternate transportation. It’s good exercise, an awesome way to interact with your environment, and, if you know what you’re doing and respect the rules of the road, it’s safe and really, really fun.

How do you feel about skating in your city? Do you have any stories to share? Any tips for how we can help change the laws in Asheville? A lot of strides have been made for the cyclists of this city, but what about the skaters (or skater-supporters, like me)? What about us?


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26 Responses

    I had a skateboard once, but I think my fear of falling got the better of me and I rarely road it! Maybe a long board would be better? Looks like fun! Speaking of bans, the village of Westwood, where went to college (UCLA), has a ban on dancing! Apparently in the 80s there was a shooting and the government went overboard in reaction. To this day…no dancing! very strange! Best of luck getting skating back in Asheville!

      thisdogslife says:

      That sounds like Footloose, but *not* fancy free. Does Kevin Bacon know about this? Hmm, maybe Kevin Bacon can help change the laws in AVL. Bacon on wheels. Sounds so good, doesn't it? :)

    Its_betty says:

    Maybe Ira G. should learn to skate, too. No one can resist a skateboarding dog!

    Otherwise, bleah to the city for making something fun and healthy a crime. Could you get a group to go to a city council meeting? Show them that responsible people like to skateboard. Adults even! Make them say out loud what they think the problem is: are they picturing gangs of juvinile delinquents escaping from crimes on their skateboards? Every skateboarder spraying grafitti as they go? People on the sidewalk terrified as skateboarders ollie over them?

    I let my son ignore the “no skateboarding” signs in our apartment complex: so long as my son is being safe and respectful of other people, the manager can come talk to me if they think it's a problem.

      thisdogslife says:

      Yes, Betty, Yes! This is exactly the prevailing stereotype that prevents responsible skaters from doing their thing. In the case of longboarding, we're just trying to get to work.

      I'll work on the skateboarding thing. You might be on to something.

      Thanks for your support!

      Ride on,

    Whitney says:

    If I was not so clumsy as to injure myself walking around my own bedroom, I would totally consider a longboard for speeding up my walk to work in the morning. I've been seeing a few around Manhattan lately, and as a pedestrian, I definitely find skateboarders less scary to encounter at intersections than bikes!

    Jason says:

    Repeal all stupid laws. Longboarding is a form of transportation. What's next? A ban on skipping?

    Joaniemo says:

    It might be insurance liability for the city, not sure. Talk to the people at the skate park and see what they think, or if they know who to talk to downtown. The police and city council probably equate skateboarding with “skate punks”, and graffiti, not transportation.

    NeelaRaoMcDade says:

    I feel that, as a community, Asheville should be celebrating alternative modes of transportation that do not pollute our environment. It seems like skateboarding and long boarding are a wonderful way to represent the green zeitgeist of our town. Why then is it illegal?

    Mark H Bloom says:

    You know, the Biltmore Estate used to outlaw jogging. It's true. As I drove the long way from the house to the exit, I'd see signs along the walking path: “No Jogging.” No kidding. Walking: OK. Biking: no problem. Horseback riding: love it. But jogging? No way. I used to joke with my wife that they'd shoot someone they caught jogging. Shoot first, ask questions later. “What happened, officer?” “Well, he was either running off with someone's purse, or he was jogging. Either way, I had him dead to rights.”

    What does this have to do with illegal longboarding? Well, the Biltmore Estate has apparently changed its tune. I haven't seen a No Jogging sign for months. And if an ultra-conservative establishment like the Biltmore can change its ways, maybe a hip, liberal city like Asheville can do it too. Go, Ira!

    Rebecca says:

    I think it this is a great opportunity to update an out-dated law ~ as you say it is a great form of alternative transportation. Come' on Asheville…. You can do it! Step into it.

    Kirstie says:

    I don't understand the difference between longboarding/skateboarding and bike riding, or any other form of alternative transportation. Shouldn't we be encouraging people to use non-polluting forms of transportation, anyway? It's especially ideal for people who live within a few miles of downtown, like Ira's mommy.

    SquareStateSkate says:

    I sent this link to several skate magazines/resources. Hopefully you can get a little momentum and/or press.

      thisdogslife says:

      Thanks so much, SquareStateSkate!
      Big wags,

    arts alive says:

    I fully support Ira's quest and right to ride alongside his responsible human Kathleen. This is an antiquated and ridiculous law that needs to change. Why aren't the cops outlawing the segways I've seen them on, pestering the skaters?

    Karen B. says:

    Oh, no. That's ridiculous. Perhaps you can find out why the law was enacted and try to challenge it on those terms. Someone mentioned liability, but I don't see why Asheville would have more liability for skateboarding accidents than sue-happy New York City would. Maybe it's the prevailing stereotype of the skateboarder, but aside from the fact that many people who enjoy skateboarding don't fit that description, even the ones who seem to are generally decent kids. Good luck in changing this antiquated law.

    thisdogslife says:

    UPDATE: City Council member Cecil Bothwell sent Mom this note this morning:

    Am meeting with Douglas Stevens in about 15 minutes to discuss how we can implement Portland's 4-Wheels Down law here. Apparently the objection that led to the ban was kids doing tricks and allegedly damaging public and private property. Commuting should be legal, and I'll do my very best to get this changed. Thanks for your feedback!

    Thanks to everyone for your support! Paws crossed we can change the law, and soon!

    Happy wags,

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