The Prince Rupert RCMP held an education meeting for boarders and cyclists on Friday, aiming to prevent injuries and deaths on Prince Rupert roads.
The longboarder, skateboarder and bicycle safety meeting covered a variety of topics such as how to ride safer, RCMP and bylaw enforcement, as well as how motorists can share roadways with riders.
Const. Maury Tyre spearheaded to effort to hold the meeting after RCMP were requested to do an education program by the City of Prince Rupert. The city had received a number of complaints about boarders over the summer months, as did the RCMP.
“When people are calling and complaining to us … They are concerned about the safety of the individual they are calling about. They’re seeing what they deem as unsafe behaviour and their worried someone’s going to end up dead or injured,” Tyre said.
Tyre consulted with Marc Page and Steve Newman of Loaded Sports to get boarder’s perspectives, with Loaded Sports donating a number of prizes to be raffled off to those in attendance.
Tyre said if there’s one message people get out of the meeting, it’s to wear a helmet when riding on longboards, skateboards or bicycles.
“We need to change mentality. I look around Prince Rupert, and about one in 10 cyclists are wearing a helmet, and maybe one in 10 boarders,” he said.
Other main messages Tyre hopes riders remember is to follow road signage, and make sure they’re doing hand signals.
The Prince Rupert RCMP will be amping up bicycle enforcements, so Tyre encouraged anyone using a bike to ensure they know the rules of the Motor Vehicle Act, or else they could be fined.
While skateboards and longboards are not included in the Motor Vehicle Act, the city does have a bylaw banning the use of boards on roads in Prince Rupert. This means RCMP can fine riders $25 if they are doing things like impeding or obstructing traffic, not wearing helmets, failing to consider others on the road, street luging or doubling on a skateboard, failing to obey road signs and not wearing reflective equipment at night.
“It’s a relatively small fine, but it can add up very quickly,” Tyre said, adding if the person being fined is underage, their guardian will be notified.
RCMP cannot currently seize boards as a punishment, unless they feel the rider is doing something dangerous enough to kill them, in which case they can seize the board for a day.
“If we can’t curb the dangerous behaviour, there’s a good chance we will go to the city and ask for an increase in fines, and the ability to seize boards,” Tyre said, adding this is not something the RCMP want to do.
“We’re hoping people take this to heart, and we don’t have to see bigger punishments.”