Hit and Runs and Skateboards: Dangerous New Trend

by Ladyblogger on September 19, 2013

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Jacob Little, a resident of Monroe, Georgia, was skateboarding to school on Aug. 27, 2013, when the skateboard rolled out from under him. When 16-year-old Jacob went to get his skateboard, he stepped into the road and was hit by three vehicles at separate times.

Only one driver stopped, the other two fled the scene. Walton County Sheriff, Joe Chapman, reportedly said that there was nothing the drivers could do to avoid hitting the teenager. However, the drivers should have stayed at the scene. Later that day, at least two drivers turned themselves in to police.

This unfortunate incident serves as a reminder of the dangers of skateboarding near heavily traveled roads and the failure of motorists to stop at the scene of an accident. In any type of hit-and-run, drivers are to stop, check on the injured person and report the accident to police.

Many have adopted skateboarding as a viable means of transportation, which has become trendy around the country. With skateboarders sharing the road, car accidents become more prevelant.

Skateboarding Legislation

Skateboarding is popular all over the world. There are international associations and professional championship series dedicated to the activity. Because there are no national laws governing skateboarding, states and local governments have developed their own legislation regarding the sport. Most states and local governments in the U.S. have established legislation, accordingly.

In Florida, skateboarding falls under the same legislation as inline skating and freestyle bicycling. Florida law does not allow skateboarders to practice on government property without the approval of local authorities.

As a way of providing a safe place to practice, some communities have created parks for skateboarding.
Although laws are in place and skateboarders may follow them, tragedies could occur, especially when skateboarders are on public roads.

Another Tragedy

In February 2013, 12-year-old Harry Greene from the city of Edgewater in Volusia County, was hit by a pickup truck as he was skateboarding on the side of the road. Police officials said the boy was skateboarding in a bike path that was striped off along side of the road. The truck, driven by a 22-year-old family friend, went into the bike path and hit the boy who died as a result.

Risky Business

Skateboarders practice on rural roads, parking lots or wherever they can because there are not enough local skate parks, according to Skaters For Public Skateparks, a national advocacy organization based in Portland, Oregon.

To illustrate the risks that skateboarders face, the non-profit group tracked skateboard fatalities from across the country in 2011. By using news stories, the association reported 42 total fatalities occurring that year, with California having 11 fatalities, the most of any state. Florida had one fatality.

Of the 42 fatalities, 26 individuals died while skateboarding on the street. What’s more, the youngest fatality was 12 years old and the oldest was 35. According to the association, the average age of a skateboarding fatality in 2011 was 17 years old.

It’s the Law

For instance, Florida’s law says that skateboarders are expected to maintain control of their equipment at all time, as well as refrain from doing anything that could cause or contribute to injuries or death to themselves or others. In the event that an accident happens, motorists are not to leave the scene of a hit and run.

Unfortunately some states have seen an increase in this recreational tragedy. With this said, Florida has had its share of auto accidents involving skateboards. This trend has left victims in various communities seeking the legal counsel of car accident lawyers Fort Lauderdale, FL firms and other legal representation throughout this state’s major cities.

Until local communities build more skate parks, motorists must be on the alert for skateboarders and skateboarders must act responsibly. In the end, both have to do whatever they can to avoid any tragic accidents from occurring.

Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and law enthusiast based in the Atlanta metro area.

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