Street skaters, beware

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Thursday, February 20, 2014


CITOM will start apprehending kids rollerblading or skateboarding on the streets of Cebu City. About time it did.

These kids pose danger not only to themselves but also to motorists who have to maneuver their vehicles to avoid hitting or running over them.

Citom's directive has given me a reason to finally rant about these rollerblading and skateboarding kids on the streets especially at night.

Their choice of playground: rolling streets where they can do their tricks. So they're on RR Landon, Gen. Maxilom Ave., Escario, Juana Osmeña, Osmeña Blvd., just to name a few where I regularly see their lot.

One time at the intersection of Osmeña Blvd. and P. del Rosario, as I was driving home from work at about 1 a.m., two kids on rollerblades were racing each other as they tried to beat the traffic lights. Drivers honked; the kids raised their arms in glee and triumph.

Another time on RR Landon St. at about 9 p.m., a group of rollerbladers attached themselves like sausages to the back of a running taxi. The driver stopped his taxi and waited for the kids to remove themselves from his vehicle. But no, the kids waited for the driver to move his taxi again. The taxi driver got down from his vehicle and shooed the kids away. The kids slapped the hood of his taxi.

Complaints about these juvenile traffic hazards have reached Citom.

Citom officers will apprehend these street skaters, issue them citation tickets and confiscate their rollerblades or skateboards. They have as basis Cebu City Ordinance 801 or the Traffic Code.

"No person riding upon any bicycle, motorscooter, coaster, roller skates or any toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any moving vehicle."

Anyone below 18 years old who is found violating this provision shall be fined P500 and will have to bring his parent to the Citom office to claim back his confiscated skates.

Citom operations chief Joy Tumulak says the skaters are fast becoming traffic hazards.

Many of the kids are only learning to skate and can barely control their toys. Some show off their skating tricks and are unmindful of passing vehicles.

It's a nightmare at corners of rolling streets where neither driver nor skater see who or what is at the turn. I blare my horns at these skaters.

Some stop what they do, but most of them, feeling astig, are dedma. One or two would glare at me like I had intruded into a private property.

I'm glad the Cebu City Traffic Operations and Management (Citom) is addressing this traffic hazard called street skaters. It's unfortunate that we don't have a skating park or facility. I'm not sure if the skating rink at Fuente Osmeña is still there. If it's still there, no kid goes there to skate.

That's for babies. There's no thrill without the rolls and vehicles.

In the absence of a skating park, why not open the barangay gym to the skaters on certain days or at night? I got the idea from Federico, the 16-year-old son of Tinago Barangay Captain Joel Garganera, who organized a skateboard competition with his friends last year using the Tejero gym as a venue.

The skaters brought their boards and improvised ramps and showed off their tricks, all within the confines of the gym.

In the meantime, Citom officers will have their hands and legs busy going after the street skaters, that is, if indeed Tumulak means what he says about apprehending these traffic hazards.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 20, 2014.

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