I'm a senior citizen who gets around on a skateboard. Well, longboard actually. That's a skateboard which is -- get ready for a non-surprise! -- longer.
But almost all of my longboarding is on trails in Salem (Oregon) parks. Usually I land paddle my way along for five to seven miles.
For other skateboarders/longboarders, their boards are a principal means of transportation. Kudos to Shred Oregon for making a video that will help to educate people, including policymakers, of this fact.
"Skateboarding is Transportation" should be required viewing for city councilors, county commissioners, state legislators, and others who make decisions about what is, and isn't, alternative transportation (alternative to cars, that is). For example, is it really necessary to ban skateboards in downtown areas?
Salem sucks pretty bad when it comes to dedicated bike paths.
Especially multi-use paths (bikes, pedestrians, skateboards, roller bladers, etc.). I don't ride a bike in town, but since I've started longboarding I'm always looking for places other than parks where I'd feel comfortable doing my land paddling thing. And Salem doesn't offer much.
Skateboarders are misunderstood by most people. They associate skateboards with annoying kids who play around and do tricks where they shouldn't.
But, hey, I'm 64 years old; more or less responsible most of the time; never caused any damage to myself, another person, or any living thing on my longboard (squirrels stay out of my way, though many dogs are curious about a guy rolling along on four wheels).
And I'm a skateboarder!
Even though I don't use a longboard for daily transportation, I can testify to the reasons some of the people in the video cited as why they get around on a skateboard.
My longboard easily fits in the back of my small Mini Cooper. A few small tools are all I need to use to maintain it. It's super-simple mechanically. No adjusting of brakes, chain, shifter, etc. as there is with a bike.
When I get off the board and want to walk for a while, I just pick it up. If I ever pass by a coffeehouse and feel the need for a caffeine pickup, I can take it inside. Lock not necessary.
Longboards are less expensive than bicycles, and arguably better exercise -- especially when someone, like moi, land paddles with a stick, thereby involving his/her entire body (especially the core) in propulsion.
So the next time you see a longboarder, think great way to get around. Not, crazy skateboarder. Longboarding is becoming increasingly common transportation. USA Today says so.
[Note: driving home on Liberty Road this afternoon I had to make a detour because police were investigating a serious accident involving a skateboarder. Reportedly the boarder is facing a DUII charge and wasn't wearing a helmet. So, yeah, some skateboarders do crazy stuff. But so do priests, lawyers, doctors, politcians, everybody.]