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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Skating Laws

The City of Manhattan Beach is handing out fines to skaters and rollerbladers using the bike path on the strand

Manhattan Beach police officers are ticketing non-bicyclers using the bike path at the strand.

The city has a law that only allows for bikers to use the strand while all other people, including rollerbladers, skaters, and skateboarders must use the pedestrian strand.  Resident Diann Keller rollerbladed on the bike strand for six years before she received a ticket.

“I was in shock,” Keller said. “I couldn’t believe I was getting a ticket. I was like, ‘Why are you issuing me a ticket? This is not known.’ ‘No,’ he said. ‘This has been known for years. You could see it has been written clearly on the bike path.’”

The bike path has messages all over that say bikes only.  Some bikers say the law is necessary.

“The bike path is for bikes and pedestrians use the pedestrian path,” said Dean Francois.

“You can be riding and they’ll make a turn that you don’t expect right in front of you, and it can cause accidents, so I’m all for it,” said Don Madden. “I think it’s a good thing. I mean, it’s a bike path.”

But some skaters and rollerbladers disagree with the law

“The bikers are the ones who run over the kids,” said skater Marne Wible. “They’re the ones going 50 to 60 miles an hour on the bike path and they’re the ones causing the accidents.”

“I think that’s absolutely wrong,” said skateboarder Tony Hernandez. “I think anybody is allowed to skate, rollerblade, whatever they want on this bike path.”

Biker Ryan O’Gorman doesn’t agree with the law either.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous,” said O’Gorman. “There’s not really a need. There’s plenty of room for all of us on there.”

Police would not comment, but Keller is already taking steps to change the law.

“People that enjoy the bike path should get involved in this,” said Keller. “I started a petition, which is, I think that’s a good starting point.”

Keller plans on challenging the ticket she received in court and she hopes that one day the bike path can be shared by all wheeled exercisers.

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