Skateboarder avoids WOF fine

NADIA STADNIK
Last updated 05:00 10/11/2012
New Plymouth skateboarder Boltme

WHO ME?: New Plymouth skateboarder Boltme says he thought it was a joke when he was issued a ticket for not having a warrant of fitness for his longboard.

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A New Plymouth skateboarder has dodged a hefty fine for not having a "warrant of fitness" for his board.

Boltme, who changed his name via deed poll as a teenager, was riding in the CBD, forbidden under New Plymouth District Council bylaws, when he was pulled over by police and given a ticket.

But instead of a ticket for breaking the bylaw, he was shocked to be fined $200 for having no warrant of fitness for his board.

The 33-year-old father of two challenged the ticket and last month received a letter from police conceding the officer got it wrong.

"That is not to say that you did not commit an offence whilst riding your skateboard on a road. It is simply that you did not commit the one recorded on the notice," the letter said.

Boltme said he was not impressed with the attitude of the officer who gave the choice of having his board confiscated or paying a fine.

"He didn't think I'd fight the ticket, even when he was writing it I said 'I don't think you can do this', but he still wrote it," Boltme said.

"They let me off the ticket but it's not fair, they should at least have said sorry."

While the New Plymouth skating bylaw does allow for the confiscation of skateboards, it does not include provision for the issuing of fines.

However, under the Land Transport Act a skateboard is considered a vehicle and police can issue fines for various offences including riding a board "carelessly or without reasonable consideration for other persons".

New Plymouth police road safety supervisor Sergeant George White said the incident was nothing to do with the bylaw and it was most likely a mistake on the police officer's part.

"The officer would have got a note on their personal file saying he'd made a mistake and to be more careful next time."

White explained that in general police dealt with skaters depending on their attitude.

"Normally we stop them and have a chat to them and tell them to not ride their skateboard in town. If they're repeat offenders or grumpy about it, we take the board to the council and they can pay to get it back."

At last week's council meeting it was decided not to bring forward any review of the skating bylaw as it is due to be reviewed in 2015.

Nadia Stadnik is a Witt journalism student.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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