Skateboarders clash with council on skating issue downtown

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Skateboarders say they just want to be able to ride in downtown Charleston. A Charleston city council member says that isn't a safe idea. Skaters prepare to challenge the law at a council meeting Tuesday night.

"I enjoy skateboarding," said skateboarder Cameron Oswald. "It's been my primary transportation for three years now."

Oswald, a senior at the College of Charleston, says he doesn't have a car on campus and until recently, depended on a skateboard to get to class. That changed when he got a ticket for skating where he wasn't supposed to.

"It gets me from point A to point B so I don't know why it can't be considered transportation in Charleston," he said.

"We live in a downtown commercial district where we are compressed," said councilman Mike Seekings. Seekings says safety is the big reason skateboards aren't allowed in commercially zoned areas or on any road where the speed limit is over 25 miles per hour.

"When you see skateboards coming up the sidewalk the wrong way on a Saturday afternoon, it doesn't advance the debate," Seekings said.

The councilman says he understands many skaters want to have the same privileges as bicyclists and welcomes their views at the council meeting Tuesday.

Oswald says he understands that some skaters do not obey the rules, but thinks the city has gone too far and is discriminating against this form of transportation, which he plans to address at the meeting.

"I almost feel like banning skateboarding is too much of a step initially," Oswald said. "I think everybody needs to be on the same. We're willing to follow the rules of the road. Now let's work on what those rules of the road are."

Nearly 200 people have joined the Facebook group "Protest anti-skateboarding in Charleston.'

Tuesday's city council meeting is at 5 p.m.

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