Skateboarding is not a crime, unless you’re doing it in Banff after 11 p.m., but that’s about to change.
Banff council voted unanimously to direct administration to return with proposed changes to its streets and roads bylaw that would allow skateboarding between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. as a form of transportation.
Currently, the activity is prohibited in the resort community between those times, however, Councillor Stavros Karlos requested a review of the regulations after long-time members of the local skateboarding community brought up the issue with him.
“What I perceive to be an issue is late night stunting or tricks and I think we can still encapsulate that in the bylaw,” Karlos said.
When it comes to skateboards making noise, he pointed out Town bylaws restricting late night noise do not reference what decibel levels are acceptable and its enforcement is “fully in the realm of subjectivity”.
Karlos said skateboards generate noise similar to the average vehicle, which is between 55 and 65 decibels, a diesel truck or bus between 90 to 100 decibels and a motorcycle 100 decibels or more.
“We are dealing with something, if you look at the factual evidence, that is different but not functionally that much louder,” he said.
Karlos made the motion to change the bylaw to allow skateboarding as transportation but to continue to prohibit stunting between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
A staff report detailed the evolution of restrictions to skateboarding in the community.
The first ever traffic bylaw, passed in 1990, prohibited skateboarding completely and was later changed in 1992 to allow it but restrict it from certain streets.
The matter was revisited in 2003 after a petition with 340 signatures was presented to the traffic advisory committee.
What resulted was that restrictions on Spray Avenue were removed, prohibitions removed in the downtown core except for the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Banff Avenue and 200 Block of Bear Street, and restrictions maintained on Mountain Avenue and all other streets with a six per cent or more grade were added.
It was also at that time the operation of skateboards anywhere in town between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. was added.
Bylaw services supervisor Tony Clark said it has been the RCMP that enforces the municipal bylaw and they have written two tickets so far and may have written one more recently although official stats for the last month and a half were not available.