The conflict over longboarding on the North Shore needs more than a Band-Aid solution. So far, unfortunately, a Band-Aid is all our municipalities appear prepared to offer.
This week, the District of North Vancouver passed a bylaw banning riders from Skyline Drive, one of the municipality's most popular routes. The move was in response to complaints from residents of the area, who fear the practice is going to end in catastrophe.
Despite the longboarding community's insistence to the contrary, those fears are not unreasonable; any activity that takes participants - not all of whom are experienced - rapidly down winding public streets is bound to end in serious injury or death. And though many days pass without incident, that very real risk creates a harrowing experience for drivers.
The longboarders are right, though, that simply prohibiting the sport in certain neighbourhoods - or even in all neighbourhoods, as West Vancouver has - will not put an end to it. Riders will continue to flock to steep winding roads - until, that is, they have an alternative.
The North Shore is a big place with a lot of undeveloped land. There must be space somewhere for a closed course, where riders and drivers won't risk colliding. It may be a difficult task, and it may involve co-operation with a private organization or another level of government. But a study of the options, at least, would be well worth the investment. We owe it to drivers, and to our kids, to try.
One of these days, we will see the cost of failing to address this issue, and it will be horrific.