The skateboarding danger on the Danforth

In an urban environment, speeds can average 40km/h

As winter approaches, certain methods of transportation are being stored away for the season. However, that doesn’t seem to have affected the large group of people who are still skateboarding around East York in the rain and even the snow.

Skateboarding, or longboarding, is a method of transportation that is sometimes associated with delinquent behaviour. Some East York parks have installed metal studs along their park benches to try to combat skateboarders applying wax to “grind” on the surface.

Riding down the Danforth, however, is another situation entirely.

With specific parts of the Danforth rising and falling in elevation, it becomes both a problem and a benefit. The additional incline allows for less pushing and more speed, but it also increases the risk.

Since skateboards and longboards do not have any way to brake — other than with your own foot or by just jumping off — they can make it dangerous for pedestrians along the Danforth.

So why don’t they just ride on the road?

According to the City of Toronto’s bylaws, “The Highway Traffic Act prohibits the use of skateboard/roller skates/in-line skates on roadways. City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 950, Traffic and Parking, prohibits the use of skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates and similar devices on the roadway on streets where there are sidewalks, except for the purpose of crossing the road.”

For riders, this creates an added problem, since they must ride on the sidewalk when one’s available. For East Yorkers, that is dangerous.

The world speed records for skateboards and longboards exceed 130 km/h. Even in an urban environment, speeds can average 40km/h. 

Those numbers may seem high, but they are achievable with the right hill and, of course, no brakes. The collision impact is strong enough to knock people off their feet and injure both rider and pedestrian.

The bylaws state that Toronto Police are responsible for the enforcement of skateboarding behaviour. While they no doubt have more pressing problems to attend to, here’s hoping they don’t turn a blind eye to this one.