Published on February 28, 2014
The Concept of Skateboards for Transport A brief overview of the arguments against and for skateboard transportation
Introduction The skateboard is the simplest of vehicles. It is not the fastest of non-motorized vehicles (NMV’s) but it has a series of advantages over all of them. These advantages can be quickly over-ruled by the relative advantages of other NMV’s, depending on the circumstances of transport. These advantages include health benefits, but for the sake of transportation planning the primary concern should be transportation capability, and there are also advantages to be considered in such planning.
Discussion of planning This presentation is not to suggest that the skateboard has been ignored in planning. It is my opinion, however, that it has been largely considered invaluable to make special considerations for the skateboard. In many cases the skateboard has been understood (both openly and as an undertone) to be a nuisance and a problem for transportation planners. It might be important to state that this is also true for the sport use of all vehicles.
Statement of Relevance It is my opinion that the skateboard offers a unique potential in transportation planning. The skateboard can allow for situations that no other vehicles can, and currently these situations are not considered a possibility in transportation planning.
Overlooked Potential As with all new things and ways, the skateboard has been rebelled against as a means of transportation. It was eventually accepted as a toy and sport, but even NMV advocates will largely side with keeping skateboards in the recreational vehicle category. Support for the skateboard is often labelled as rebellion rather than a decision that is made after the experience of riding one. Interestingly nearly all supporters are riders.
Now some argument
There are no breaks • The skateboard does not have a mechanical breaking system • In transportation, there are: hills, grades, stops, traffic, potholes, obstructio ns, etc. • This lack of breaks is a common concern, and understandable.
The are too. • Breaking is an operation performed by the rider. • To stop the skateboard requires the same action as to make it go. • It is a skill that must be acquired, and one that can become comfortable. • Breaking is a test of skill and should be treated as such. A rider should not operate at higher speeds than they can break at, which requires special behavior.
Breaking and controlling the vehicle can take time to learn. • It is true that new riders are often encouraged to behave inappropriately, and attempt speeds they have not learned to control. • This is in part due to a lack of involvement by planners. • There are methods for safe navigation that allow any skill of rider to traverse any passage. • A description of these methods could be available much the same way motor vehicle practices are.
Skipping ahead, to be edited (but included now for draft viewing) • The skateboard can create situations in transportation that other vehicles cannot. • Planning these situations into transportation may change public opinion of the vehicles. • This will have side effects which may include making unpopular people important, and possibly embarrassing upstanding citizens.
Key Situations • Each passenger in a POV or mass transit vehicle may carry an NMV without compromising the passenger capacity of the vehicle (including airplanes). • NMV’s may be carried into places of business without affecting comfort or customer capacity. (parking is possible in the space of a coat rack, but largely unnecessary) • Most downtown areas are able to be crossed at 8-15 mph with no modifications to infrastructure (bike racks, bigger elevators, etc.) (Mass transit becomes viable for many that feel it is not)
The difference between sport boarding and transport boarding • It is important to consider the difference, as many decisions made by policy-makers are designed to deal with sport-boarding. • While in transit, the trip can be completed in an acceptable time without exceeding the skills for safety of the rider. Every minute can matter, but the minutes saved by using the board may make it valuable. • The activity of transit does not require stunts or racing, and if young, new, or rebellious riders are exposed to an integrated culture they may be inclined to respect the infrastructure. • Stunts and hill bombing are already usually moved to isolated areas by the athletes naturally in order to allow for greater enjoyment.
The war for the skateboard (conspiracy? Natural tendency?) • Skateboarding practice improves balance, coordination, strength, vitality, resilience, and visual physique. • It makes unrelated difficult tasks seem more achievable and improves work ethic and willingness to do hard work. • Most Americans in the influential voter class did not have access to such benefits in their youth. • It is true that traffic is affected by NMV’s and street sports, but it appears as though some of the resistance to the skateboard is based on ignorance, jealousy, and a sense of loss. • This has caused a driving population that preaches understanding and an open-minded approach to road usage to become hostile towards children of poverty who may now have access potential like no previous generation ever has. (To own an automobile is to bear the weight of enormous debt, which creates tension that can be released on persons without such debt) • Minority populations already have a strong culture of hard physical labor. The longboard and other NMV’s (if accommodated for properly in the infrastructure) can give persons with the ability and ambition to dramatically outperform existing employees the opportunity to try without the enormous sacrifice it may currently require.
On the oppression of the poor • It could not possibly be an overt intention to oppress the poor, however the act to prevent the redistribution of wealth is “instinctual” • One with much would not need to plan to automatically become unhappy at the prospect of having to work harder and gain less. It would be automatic, and before thought. • This can apply to a debt ridden automobile ridership (The white middle class) as easily as an historical evil king. Inconsiderate selfish behavior has caused incredible loss of human life, it is not unbelievable that it would cause inappropriate premature laws.
The International Competition • At some point, if an activity may allow for the success of an economy, it should be investigated thoroughly. • This does not always occur in time for a local economy to be successful, there is only one greatest world power at any given time. • It may be important to address the skateboards potential in the U.S. in order for the U.S. to compete with the economic potential of a well engineered population of triple the size. Sustainability can mean more than energy for the future, it can mean energy potential right now. If an economy can do so much more with so much less, eventually how much more they can do will render all competition obsolete.
Lets don’t become third world because people didn’t learn. • All skateboarders learn to drive, and buy and use cars. • Car drivers are being diagnosed with diseases that are not diseases by all doctors standards, and previous medical understanding credited these health problems to sedentary behavior. • If you are too obese and restless to focus, you cannot compete with someone who is healthy, confident and calm. Many Americans are teaching and forcing their children to be obese and restless by restricting curiosity in the name of safety, while skateboarders are increasingly healthy, confident and calm. (and productive economically)
Lets don’t take Military Action because people won’t use their bodies • There is more potential in peaceful cooperation than oppressive war. • For our health and long life, we need exercise anyway. • All resources are limited. In a war with China we would be required to kill people willing to walk to be successful. • A healthy day with lots of activity leaves ME happy. I would not choose to live in a world where I must not leave the bunker just because another of my fellow citizens didn’t understand their bodies. We are a global community, and we need our whole community.
There is other energy technology • The infrastructure that we build for such automobile access does not allow for much energy technology to be built properly. • Technologies such as waste heat recovery would integrate well with Skateboards, but not automobiles. • Exploring new infrastructure might make the amount of energy available increase exponentially. • Some countries, due to the existence of historical energy technology, may be able to rapidly progress where America may not be able to do so. (passive efficiency and use)
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