Skateboarders risk lives

To parents of skateboarding teenagers: Last Tuesday, I saw your beautiful, 12- to 15-year-old, blond-haired, possibly green-eyed son cheat death one more time. He is clever, your gorgeous boy, and he’s good at his craft on the board, but not good enough to continue his ways without possibly ruining a life — his and/or a driver’s — forever.

I was turning from Oak Street onto A and there was a van already stopped at the intersection on A. It had its signal on, getting ready to turn right. As I pulled alongside the van, your handsome boy came up behind the van and continued between the van and my vehicle on the van’s LEFT, crossing the yellow line into my lane. I was amazed and very concerned, stopping my vehicle to watch what would happen next. Your lithe young man reached Oak Street, but did he stop? No. With lightning speed he looked left, then right and then — this is unbelievable — he crossed in front of the van, making a right onto Oak toward the railroad tracks, in front of the van as it was pulling out to do the same. The van’s driver hit the brakes, not your son, just in time. I believe your little man was in his own world of fast maneuvers.

Next time, your kid could be a goner by his own bad judgment. But what about the driver who never saw this hell on wheels coming? Their life would also be ruined, but by no fault of their own.

Why are we still seeing so many boys (sorry, I am not seeing girls of late) barreling down the sidewalks on their skateboards? My elderly mom, who has lived in Ashland for 20 years, no longer feels safe to walk downtown for this reason. Why aren’t the police and City Council intervening? Wake up, Ashland! Let’s not wait for a tragedy to act on behalf of everyone: the skaters, the drivers, the pedestrians.

Meanwhile, parents, hug and kiss your boys long before they head out the door with their boards. Talk to them about safe and mature riding practices. Please, create some boundaries and save a few lives. And don’t forget, let’s all drive with the knowledge that these skaters don’t drive, and haven’t a clue to the dangers they're creating.

Susanna Bahaar Thomas