URBAN DECODER: I’ve heard you can be fined for skateboarding on roads. I was wondering about longboarding — can I get in trouble even if I’m just using it as transportation?

Photo by Hilary Duff

Taking a quick look at the City of Ottawa website, it isn’t clear if longboards are included in the bylaw that prohibits the use of skateboards and rollerblades on city roads and sidewalks.  So is this surfboard on wheels considered illegal?  Troy Leeson, the program manager of bylaw services and parking enforcement, says yes. Longboards are considered to be in the same family as its wheeled relatives, he says.  Unlike bicycles, the bylaw doesn’t currently recognize longboards as a mode of transportation, which is why they are still banned. Leeson says he thinks it’s a matter of age: “at this time skateboarding and rollerblading are more of a younger generation thing so universally they’re not as accepted yet.” That means riders can expect a $25 fine if caught, but this is at the discretion of the police.  With the right lobbying, Leeson says that bylaw changes can be achieved, so longboarders wanting to take back the roads: unite and conquer.