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Malone considers changing law regarding skateboarding

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MALONE — Village officials are considering altering village law to accommodate skateboarding, but it still may be a few months before changes take effect.

Village Police Chief Christopher J. Premo discussed changing the law at the village Board of Trustees’ meeting Monday night. He said the village could use Potsdam’s law as a model.

Several residents have approached village officials about changing the law, which prohibits skateboarding along village streets.

Potsdam’s law, which applies to skateboarders and in-line skaters, mandates that those participating in these activities follow state traffic law in the same way that bicyclists do. This includes yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians and not participating in these activities on sidewalks or parking lots if older than 14.

“I like it,” said Michael Derouchie, who has a son who skateboards and appealed to the board to have the law adjusted. “I think it’s very good.”

A draft of proposed changes has yet to be prepared. Mayor Todd M. LePine said the matter will have to be reviewed by the village’s attorney, Kevin F. Nichols.

Mr. LePine said the board will discuss the matter during its Sept. 9 meeting and may set a public hearing date. Following the hearing, residents have 30 days to comment on it. If no major changes are made, the trustees then can adopt the amendments.

Though village officials are considering the issue, Trustee Hugh Hill said skateboarders have to abide by the rules of the road, adding that some of the elderly in the community are concerned.

“They are frightened by their behavior,” he said at Monday’s meeting.

Mr. Hill said Tuesday he was approached by two elderly residents who were concerned about what changing the law could entail.

However, Mr. Premo said amending the law doesn’t exempt skateboarders from its enforcement.

“We can still charge them” if they violate the new law, he said.

Mr. Hill said it may be possible to enlist the help of the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board to educate skateboarders on the rules of the road and how they apply to them.

“It can’t just be that we pass it and walk away,” he said.

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