Rise in skateboard use good for health, Sport Otago says

University of Otago language student Amber Li (24) uses a longboard to get to her lecture yesterday. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.Amber Li does not own a car or a bike but she is one of an increasing number of people getting around Dunedin on a completely different set of wheels.

The University of Otago language student bought a longboard two months ago and has not looked back since.

She travels to lectures, rain or shine, on her longboard and said it was pretty easy to learn and did not cost her anything to run.

"I am really enjoying it, it is very easy."

Sport Otago marketing co-ordinator Amanda Dyer said anything that helped people to be active in their everyday lives had her support.

She said that while there was potential for conflict between skateboarders and pedestrians, encouraging people to be active was very important.

"This is the challenge we all have - trying to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and other road users, all competing for the same space," Ms Dyer said.

There is a bylaw in Dunedin that prohibits skateboarding in Moray Pl and several other busy pedestrian areas, like the Esplanade at St Clair, the Botanic Garden, John Wickliffe Plaza, Queen's Gardens and Princes St.

A recent police press release reminded youth not to skateboard in prohibited areas, including central city malls and Albion Lane.

Senior Constable Heather Rei said that skateboarding in those areas was "extremely dangerous" and parents should make sure their children knew about the bylaw.

Ms Li said she did not even know there was a bylaw but she did not usually go through any of the banned areas anyway.

She said the footpaths along North Rd and Castle St to the university were easy to negotiate.

• You are allowed on the road but must keep as close as possible to the edge.
On the footpath:
• Ride carefully and show consideration for others on the footpath.
• Do not ride at speeds that put other footpath users at risk.
• Give way to pedestrians and drivers of mobility vehicles.

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