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Ask Phoebe: Worries over high-speed skateboarders

By Phoebe Falconer

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Riders still have to obey normal road rules and can face big fines if they don't

This skate boarder was taking his life in his own hands travelling down Hannah Street. Photo / Ron Burgin
This skate boarder was taking his life in his own hands travelling down Hannah Street. Photo / Ron Burgin

Q. What are the rights of skateboarders on either the road or the pavements? All our driveways require us to back out on to the road. A speeding skateboard coming down our hill is not something I want to back into. I presume they aren't allowed legally on the roads but if they are on the pavement they are equally as dangerous. One came round the corner the other day and nearly bowled my grandson over. Janice Marriott, Mt Eden.

Skateboards and scooters are legally defined as wheeled recreational devices. Bicycles with wheels less than 355mm are also included.

As skateboards, rollerblades and push scooters are not classed as motor vehicles or cycles, they may be used on a footpath, unless forbidden by bylaws, which is often the case in areas of high pedestrian use such as shopping areas.

If you're under 14 and using a skateboard, rollerblades or push scooter you're regarded as a pedestrian and use is restricted to the footpath.

If you're over 14, you can use these vehicles on the road. However, the New Zealand Transport Agency strongly advises people against this.

Riders must obey all normal road rules. Careless use could see a rider fined up to $3000.

Q. Before a pedestrian tries to cross a road, they look, wait for cars to go by and then safely cross. But as a pedestrian when I walk along a city street, cars come racing out of carpark driveways, and it seems up to me to stop, if I notice them. They also turn into carpark driveways without pausing. Fort St is a bad one. I have a vision problem, and often have to jump back. Is there no law that says they should stop before entering a pedestrian footpath, look and then go? Can I record licence plates and report them? Susan Grimsdell, Auckland.

The road code states: "When you are entering or leaving a driveway that crosses a footpath, you must give way to people using the footpath". Having said that, it would be wise for pedestrians to look out before crossing a driveway, as you do.

You can record licence plates and phone the police with them, but getting any legal action relies on the driver of the car being the owner of the vehicle. Worth a try, though, I think.

• People looking for disposal options for supermarket plastic bags might like to consider dropping them off for free at Enviroreel Plastics, 14 Gabador Place, Mt Wellington. Thanks to Steve Munns for the suggestion.

- NZ Herald

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