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Scooters May Be Allowed at Skate Park

The Beaches, Parks and Recreation Commission will consider the idea in response to residents' requests.

The Beaches, Parks and Recreation Commission will consider recommending the inclusion of scooters in the list of equipment allowed at the Ralph's Skate Park.

Tuesday, the commission opened the subject for discussion. A number of residents argued for the inclusion of Razors and scooters at the park.

“I’ve seen it work,” said Mary Ann Iglesias, a mother of four boys who all use the park. With her were her sons John and Peter Iglesias who also stepped up to speak out for their sport.

Ralph’s Skate Court was opened in 2000 for skateboarders because at the time scooters were not popular enough to merit concern. In 2008 when BMX bikes rose in popularity, Beaches, Parks and Recreation commissioners looked into permitting the bikes in the park, but the park’s architect warned against bikes for the damage they would cause.

Ultimately bikes were forbidden.

A short while later, in-line skates were permitted for the similarity in wheel structure to skateboards.

Iglesias said she wondered at first if it would be safe, but found the park users respected the rules for using it.

“It’s an amazing situation," she said. "Everybody knows the rules and if you don’t know the rules, you learn them within ten minutes.”

Skaters -- both on boards and in-line -- respect the scooters' space and vice versa.

Another mother of skaters, Tracey Irish, shared a similar sentiment. She said she spoke with a policeman who “hated busting the kids and knew that once he left, they’d go right back on their scooters.”

Residents lobbying for scooter use in the park pointed out that kids were getting fined for riding scooters, but drug and alcohol use around the park seemed to go unpunished.

The parks staffers department cited two main concerns with the inclusion of scooters: liability and damage.

Commissioner Dagmar Foy said she thought the concrete would sustain damage from scooters, but Recreation Manager Pam Passow said further research is needed to say for sure.

Peter Iglesias spoke to the liability concern. Because scooters have
two points of contact, the rider’s hands and feet, the scooter is less likely to fly from its rider and hit another child than a skateboard is, he said.

Passow worried about the broader effects of allowing scooters in San Clemente’s skate park. Because other Orange County cities such as Laguna Hills and Costa Mesa have skate parks that exclude scooters as well, an inclusion of them in San Clemente could mean an influx of scooter kids from surrounding cities so great that Ralph’s Skate Court could be all but turned into a Scooter Court.

For now, Passow suggested the commissioners research the implications of including scooters by reaching out to the public through in-person interviews and social media sites like Facebook, and then contacting administrators of another park that was the first in the state to allow scooters.

Mary Ann Iglesias April 11, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Thanks for covering this important issue. Skateboard and Scooter riders out there in SC, let's make this a place where everyone can play and have fun. Keep an eye out for future City meetings.
Sue Schoensiegel April 12, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I am not a scooter rider, nor am I the parent of one, but it seems to me that you could try permitting scooters for a period of time and if it draws too many folks from other communities, THEN you could exclude the scooter riders for overcrowding. But to not even try it based on "worrying" about what "might" happen...well, we could speculate all day on situations that "might" happen. I don't envision hoards of people from surrounding communities traveling to San Clemente to "scoot."
Mo April 12, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Other than the beach and Krikorian, there are so few places for our kids to hang out, play, socialize, and just be kids. Let's look at the positives, San Clemente, and stop worrying so much about what could 'possibly' turn into a negative. Let's give these kids some credit, and stand behind them, not shut them down. Have you watched them? It is really quite impressive. They pull off some amazing tricks, the younger ones look up to the older ones, they ask questions and help each other out, and most importantly in my opinion, they are out in the fresh clean San Clemente air getting exercise! Why would we squash that? In this age of childhood obesity and communications thru electronics and social media so prevalent, for them to be outdoors and moving around, and actually interacting with each other rather than on a screen, we need to promote and encourage more things like this. The fact that they think it is fun and WANT to do it is so very important. By in large these are all good kids. Sure, you may get one with an attitude now and then, but that is true for anywhere you go. One bad apple shouldn't spoil it for the whole group. So give them the rules (helmets, etc.), enforce the rules so they actually learn them, and let them learn, grow, and practice with each other. As far as etiquette, they teach each other that really quick out there. They do all this without coaches, uniforms, teams, or dues. We would be crazy to take all that value away!
Mo April 12, 2012 at 02:50 PM
San Clemete did such a great job with our new Sports Park, it is a wonderful place for our kids to go and be active, connect w others, and be part of a community. Scooting is not a traditional team sport, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't support this growing popular sport as well. We HAVE the park, let's accommodate them and keep them engaged. If they can't meet up there, you know darn well they will use stairs, curbs, rails, and anything else around town they can find in order to practice. Boys are resourceful, they'll find a way, good or bad. Give them a place they CAN go, and they might stay off they places you don't want them to go. Speaking of, what are the plans for all that open space adjacent to the skate park? The inclusion and acceptance of some more of the "extreme" sports, so prevalent here in our surf culture would be very progressive of San Clemente.
Lindsey Hanson April 12, 2012 at 03:39 PM
As a parent of a skateboarder who is sponsored none the less I deeply regret any decision to permit scooters in the park. Build them their own park! Why you ask? GO watch for yourself. The kids on scooters are an absolute DANGER. Thye swing those scooters around uncontrollably. Most have no idea how to ride and therefore regress to simply swinging the scooter around in the air. Imagine popping out of a bowl and getting chopped by a swinging metal two by four. It happens all the time. The vert style bowls should strictly be for boards. I have yet to see a kid on a scooter ride those bowls with any integrity. They belong on the street style section only. Again I suggest you go watch for yourself. My opinion is formed after YEARS of watching.
Mo April 12, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I absolutely understand, and see your concern for the kids' safety. That should always be the number one priority, of course. But, instead of polarizing the two groups, a San Clemente specialty, why not come together and figure out possible ways to accommodate and include? I'm sure the kids would love a second park built, but I highly doubt that in these lean economic times that the city has the funding or capability to build an entirely separate park. Besides, that would take years and doesn't address current concerns. But, this is not a new issue to the city. What other board sport has more than one group vying for the same venue around here? The ocean? Who hasn't been to T-street or Rivi, and understands that there are segregations taking place there to allow two separate but similar sports to share the same facility....the waves. We have one ocean, we have one skatepark. We have surfers and spongers, that when put together may cause risk to one another. No one wants to be sponge boarding and look up to find a surfer heading straight towards you with that pointy missile of fiberglass and foam. That's why the city divides them; whether it is by location, or time. Lets not reinvent the wheel, or worse, throw it out completely. Divide the park ~ whether physically, or by hours, or days of the week, so that everyone gets a fair crack at it. Like I said, make RULES, enforce the rules (i.e. lifeguards), and be inclusionary, not exclusionary. Don't shut kids out.
Lindsey Hanson April 12, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Did you even read my comment? I made the same suggestion. Bowls for boards only was my idea. But after more thought I think hours are best. Personally from experience younger children ride scooters so perhaps they can have the earlier hours and split the weekend? IIike your ideas. However who is going to enforce the rules?
Mo April 12, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I did read your comment. Just thinking further. The scooter kids like to use the bowls too, not just the waterfall, so I was merely trying to think of all different and possible ways to best accommodate everyone. Whether that means physically dividing the park, if that is what they think is best, or by dividing by time, there are options. Some research and input from the kids, adults, city officials, etc. could figure out the best option, Im sure. I am noodling on the enforcement part as well, because that is key...what if, just like a lifeguard, there was a "skateguard" of sorts? Someone there to oversee and enforce...just like a lifeguard. A city employee maybe? A volunteer task force? The volunteer law enforcement people that the city already uses? (We know we need more than just an occasional patrol car that they all see coming). I don't know, just thinking out loud, but that is how ideas turn into something...collect a bunch of them, weed thru them, and choose one, or several to try out. Maybe they alternate early and late times between them on different days too? In fairness, my son is 14 and he scoots, and the local Pro's and sponsored ones are all older boys as well. I think young and old alike, enjoy doing either one or both sports even, so that is where research and input helps to put together a schedule of sorts that is as fair as possible. The important point is that we teach our kids to work through issues and move forward with them.
Lindsey Hanson April 12, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Who will pay the skateguards?
Juan Pelota April 12, 2012 at 06:48 PM
If your "sponsored" child is as good as you think they are perhaps he should be skating in a private facility. We certainly don't want children with no "integrity" around your child as they learn, after all, he is "sponsored none the less."
Mo April 12, 2012 at 07:02 PM
That would be yet another issue that needs research and input. If it were some sort of volunteer effort, obviously no one would. But if the city doesn't have or create viable a volunteer network, then my guess is that it would have to be a city employee. Likely someone from Parks and Rec. And maybe not full time? Just like the lifeguards aren't there 24/7, maybe a 'peak hours of operation' is established and enforced, and the rest of the time is left up to best judgement, or learned etiquette, or spectators/parents, just like in the waves, or an occasional patrol car, which is the only current enforcement. All of this, and more questions that may arise from this, needs to be part of a committee that identifies and figures out the best way to structure, and subsequently enforce the rules laid out to make it a shareable space, taking cues and ideas from how they have done this with the surfers and spongers in the past, which seems to work for the most part. City Council and Management could iron this all out, using input from the community.
Lindsey Hanson April 12, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Seems you missed the point there Juan. I suggest trying to look beyond your obvious self internalized unhappiness to understand a broader picture. Is it ever safe to try to traverse any environment while metal two by fours are swung around in the air at a high rate of speed? Skating is dangerous enough. Also the fact is it is mostly younger kids on scooters with less control. Sure there are a few older kids on scooters but who rides a scooter at that age? Usually (not always) it's the less coordinated. GO to the park and watch for yourself or just make comments on the Patch knocking my kid because he is talented.
barbara swartz April 13, 2012 at 05:07 AM
THe Iglesius boy made a great point - razor (2 wheeled scooters) are inherently safer because you hold onto them with your hands. How can you allow skateboard and NOT scooters if from a safety perspective?
Lindsey Hanson April 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Barbara I suggest you go to the park and learn for youself. Scooters are Not safer in any sense of the word
Mo April 13, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Maybe we can just come to an agreement that both sports have their inherent safety positives and negatives, as with most things in life, and work on a way to incorporate them with each other. Baseball bats can fly out of your hand, baseballs can bean you in the head, football tackles can cause injury, soccer bang ups, LaCross sticks, surfboards, skiis, snowboards, and just about any other sport under the sun has an inherent safety risk. That is why we set rules and wear proper equipment, to keep the risks to a minimum, and the sport enjoyable. Skateboards and scooters are no different. Maximize the fun, reduce the risk.
Lindsey Hanson April 13, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Mo I think you live in a fantasy world of wishful thinking. I can completely and utterly understand your hopes, wishes and desires. They are quite sincere and in appreciation of everyone. However I do not see the City paying to enforce rules and time schedules for the park. I don;t think anyone is going to volunteer either. And will said volunteer really have any authority? I STRONGLY urge you to google skate park problems and see where this argument has ended in the past in other cities. This is not a new issue. It is also an issue with BMX riders at parks. And it is or has happened at every park out there. Yes only and idiot would have an issue understanding your point about the inherent dangers of all sports. Heck you can get hit by lighting too. Personally I think scooters are more dangerous. I also think they damage the park and like it or not I think scooter riding is for babies and kids not coordinated enough to ride a skate board. JMO. I also think that the Ralph's park is a sad little park and a community like ours with a love for skate boarding such as ours can and should do better. My ultimate wishful thinking is to hand that sad little park over to all the little kids riding cheese sticks and build a real park for skate boarders.
Mo April 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Yeah, okay Lindsey, I think I am done talking with you, this will be my final post. If it is such a "sad little park", then why do you bother? I'm sure the "cheese sticks" wouldn't miss you. You have an extremely one sided opinion, and no one is obviously going to change it. You've resorted to name calling, just because you don't like something..."I think scooter riding is for babies and kids not coordinated enough to ride a skate board. " "Sure there are a few older kids on scooters but who rides a scooter at that age? Usually (not always) it's the less coordinated." Very mature. But hey, you're the expert, right? This black and white stance of taking sides on issues is exactly why nothing ever gets accomplished in San Clemente. Congratulations. JMO.
Lindsey Hanson April 13, 2012 at 06:43 PM
It's my opinion and I am entitled. This is a public forum. I also gave you accolades. Uncoordinated and babies are not name calling. I do think scooters are for the less coordinated. The issues you will not address are the serious ones that lay in reality and fact. Like the issue addressed in the past in other cities. Or who will monitor the park. Can you address those issues???
Marguerite April 15, 2012 at 08:34 AM
The actual reason scooters and bmx bikes are not allowed on public skateparks is purely safety. From a liability standpoint, metal swinging around on the same court as skateboarding is not a good mix. Insurance premiums skyrocket as accidents and injuries increase. It's not a matter of scooters being easier to ride because they have handle bars; that's a given. It's how the tricks are done. Flinging the razor overhead and all around creates the opportunity for major injuries to others with every trick. The pictures that accompany this article are exactly what the underwriter will see. The City can't mix scooters and skaters legally. It would open the city up to far too many lawsuits. Skateparks were built because skateboarders were outlawed from parks, parking lots, streets, and sidewalks. The law (SB264) is clear in stating that the parks were built to give teens and young adults a place to skate lawfully since they were banned from other public areas. Scooters have not been banned from any of these areas and are welcomed in parks, on sidewalks, and in many other public areas including the new Hermosa sports complex. They do not need to take away this one space that was built and designated for skateboarding. Finally, be careful what you wish for. Most of the discussion on other sites and facebook is coming from out of town, scooter teams getting contacts to comment so they can make SC their scooter park. If this passes, there may be no room for you.
Marguerite April 15, 2012 at 08:42 AM
Mary Ann, I think you are very sweet and I wish you well. The skatepark, however, is not a "play" area. It was built as a facility for teens and young adults to skateboard, which is by definition a "hazardous recreational activity." This is where the breakdown has been in all of these discussions. The scooter parents want to bring their kids to the park to "play." But the skatepark is not that kind of park. When scooters start swinging metal around, or little scooter riders pop out in front of skaters who are moving at high speeds performing a run, they just don't understand the danger they are posing. The scooters don't move fast, the skateboards do. The scooters start swinging metal without realizing that a skater is coming up out of the bowl or off a ramp and the metal swings and hits a guy in the face. The two sports don't mix. It's not a matter of not sharing or caring, it's just about safety and that is why cities do not allow metal razors or bmx bikes on skateparks. Stay safe.
Katherine April 20, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I am a mother of 3 sons who ride scooters, bmx & skateboards. I am also the owner of a scooter company. I am appalled by this story. First of all, how is it that any one rider has the right to the park more than the other? They don't! And safety???? Really? Come on, every single one of these sports is dangerous and if you are worried about being hurt by any rider whether its a skateboard, scooter or inline skates, then don't go. Stay in your bed, where it's safe. And parents of younger riders, again whether it's a scooter, skateboard or inline skates or bmx even, don't just show up and drop off your kids in the mix of experienced riders that are there to ride. Be smart parents, go early when all the teenagers are in school or asleep still on the weekends. Don't be blaming one sport more than the other for being "UNSAFE" for the other riders. That's like trying to get all cars bigger than a smart car off the fwy because you drive a smart car and your car doesn't stand a chance in a collision against the bigger cars. On another note,we as adults and parents are supposed to be instilling in our children certain things right? Like, respect for others, kindness, tolerance and many many more hot points that this issue hits on. How in good conscience can anyone think that we would be sending a wrong message to all riders no matter what their age is, by allowing this type of segregation....and mark my words this is a type of segregation.
Marguerite April 21, 2012 at 12:54 AM
The law, SB264, legally addresses the issue of liability in "skate courts." At this time, scooters are legally allowed on sidewalks, in city parks, parking lots, streets, and other public areas. Skateboards have been banned from these areas as skateboarding has been legally deemed a "hazardous recreational activity." Legally, persons skateboarding at the skate court "assume the risk" associated with the sport under SB264, and as such the City is not held liable for most accidents and injuries that occur when riders are performing tricks. Scooting has not been legally deemed a "hazardous recreational activity." Therefore, the City is on the line for accidents and injuries that occur involving scooters, including those including scooters colliding with skateboarders. I encourage all parents to read SB264 and then to decide if you want your children to ONLY be able to ride at the skate court and to be EXCLUDED from all other public areas as are skateboarders. This is the only way the City will be able to get insurance to allow this to happen. I see your "segregation" idea has already been thrown about in the Register comments from the Victory Team of RSM who monopolize the pro-scooter pov. Skateboarders have been "segregated" to this skate court for over 12 years--this is the ONLY place they can skate legally. SC parents, do you really want scooter shop owners and out of town teams changing the law so your kids can't scoot anywhere but the skate court?
Marguerite April 28, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Are you kidding? Have you not looked at the pictures or ever been to the park to see what is going on? If you are thinking of kids riding scooters around, then sure, they are safe and easy to ride. They should be riding them at the local city parks, on the sidewalks, and all over the place. But NOT at the skate court because they are swinging metal razors at heads, backs, and legs, haphazardly, and because so many are at different skill levels, they pose a HUGE danger to themselves at the skate court and to skaters who use the court in a completely different way than the scooters. The skate court was built for skaters who use it at a fast pace, use the full space as they run through their lines, it was built for older teens and adults. This was not built to be a playground for children.
Joe G April 28, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Huh? Other than the beach and Krikorian, there are so few places for the kids to hang out? Where do you live? This is San Clemente-man. We have the beach, the beach club, downtown, the golf courses, the new hermosa park and pool with lessons, swimming, water polo, little league, football leagues, the boys and girls club with every sport imaginable, beach volleyball, junior guards, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, boy scouts, city recreation classes, sailing classes at dana point, dozens of parks with hills to scooter on and play at, lawn bowling, miles and miles of hiking trails, and so forth.

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