Our View: That’s not how we roll
May 3, 2014
Steamboat Springs embraces toys that roll, from skateboards to bicycles and some more exotic wheeled conveyances. We have a skateboard park and a paved trail that runs for more than 6 miles along the Yampa River. And skateboards, ski skates and inline skates are allowed on streets outside the busiest part of downtown.
Accordingly, we think Steamboat residents should be willing to abide by a sidewalk ban on wheeled vehicles in the historic commercial district.
And we must admit, we should have applied the brakes April 30 when we ran on the front page of this newspaper an engaging photo portraying a man kicking a skateboard up the sidewalk on Lincoln Avenue. This clearly was a feature photograph and not a news photograph, but it has a newsy angle — a reader appropriately called us out because riding a skateboard and other wheeled vehicles on the sidewalks lining Steamboat's main street is against a city ordinance renewed in 2006.
We erred in running the photograph in a prominent spot without pointing that out.
The area where skateboards, bicycles and other forms of wheeled transportation may not be ridden on sidewalks is bounded by Oak Street on the north, Yampa Street on the south, Third Street on the east and 13th Street on the west.
The list of wheeled modes of transportation that can't be ridden on sidewalks in that district includes roller skates, in-line skates, kamikaze boards (motorized skateboards), go-peds (electric or gas-powered scooters), stand-up scooters or ski skates (roller skis). Toy vehicles also are ruled out. However, people are welcome to walk their bikes or pick up their skateboards and continue along the sidewalk to reach their destination.
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And people can ride skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates and ski skates on city roads. Because of state law, only bicycles are allowed on Lincoln Avenue, U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road.
From a distance, we admire the use of longboards, often power-assisted by a faithful dog, as a means of sustainable transportation. But the reality is that practice can get you fined.
The penalty for the first violation of the ordinance is $25, $50 for the second and $75 for third and subsequent offenses.
While we're editorializing in this vein, we want to encourage everyone to practice good etiquette while using the Yampa River Core Trail.
Multi-use trails have given rise to conflict in other cities, but our community has a strong record of sharing the Core Trail. Cyclists can make it easier by slowing and either ringing a bell or calling out a friendly greeting while passing family groups walking the trail.
And hikers, who naturally want to walk two abreast, can help cyclists by staying attuned to traffic around them and avoiding sudden changes of direction. In a similar vein, people walking pets on the required leashes can help cyclists by limiting the use of the long, retractable leashes that often span the entire width of the trail.
Be safe and respect Yampa River Core Trail closures at flooded underpasses this spring runoff season and enjoy our historic downtown while respecting city ordinances.