Round one of Lourenc’o versus Smith. This story is spicing up. As of yesterday Dec’io Lourenc’o is facing some serious charges for reckless endangerment, and JP Smith, Cape Town City Councilor and Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, is behind it all.
Smith announced yesterday that the City of Cape Town would be laying a charge with the SAPS.
The case will be opened with the police and we will ask the director of public prosecutions to prosecute.
Before the downhill skateboarding maniac uploaded his videos on YouTube, all Cape Town motorists could talk about was the peril of reckless cyclists on the road. Typically, motorists complain that cyclists never ride in single file, change lanes as they please, obstruct “real” road users from using the road, and ride through red traffic lights. And yet – the argument often concludes – the city has spent millions creating cycling lanes – a positive move which has earned Cape Town acclaim. Why then has skateboarding not been given the same attention?
JP Smith, however thinks differently
Skating in an environment that is safe is one thing, he is engaged in a high speed exercise, with limited expectations. The issue is that he is engaged in reckless endangerment.
When we asked Lourenc’o his response to the view that he was endangering the lives of road users, as well as his own, he said,
I say to them, if they don’t fully understand the sport, them not knowing is what causes them to think I’m endangering others. If they were to realise my capabilities they would understand.
Smith suggests that skate parks are an amicable solution, but like Lourenc’o hit back.
Road skating is not the same as park skating. We skate in the street, we don’t skate parks. So if they are going to make a place for us to skate they are going to have to tar Table Mountain.
Smith refused to be concerned on the question of the validity of a cyclist’s right to use a road for transportation or recreation, versus a skater’s.
That is not the question, they are two separate debates and entering into debate about them would be dumbing down the issue.
His constant reiteration of Lourenc’o’s reckless endangerment leads him to this point:
The main argument is that bicycles have brakes, skateboarders do not. How does he control himself under such high speeds? In the video you can see he goes over the white line a couple of times, vehicles can swerve and he doesn’t have brakes to control his speed. Injuring himself is not my concern, injuring others is my concern.
Lourenc’o waits to be charged. Smith indicates that evidence against him will include but will not be limited to:
The YouTube video of him skating, the camera fine picture and his response to questions that have been published [in newspapers] recently.
What are your views? Do skateboarders have as much right to make recreational and transportational use of our roads as cyclists do, or not?
CLICK HERE for yesterday’s full length interview with Dec’io.
CLICK HERE to see the video that made Dec’io famous.
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