Longboarding Increasingly Popular, Dangerous

Longboarding Increasingly Popular, Dangerous

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Amanda Butterfield ReportingTeenagers tend to think they're invincible and just can't get hurt. A growing number of kids are trying to prove that on weekend nights by cruising at high speeds down busy streets on a quicker version of a skateboard, known as longboards. They say it's great fun. Police say they're risking their lives.

They travel in packs, and they're fearless, rolling through intersections, carving down some of Salt Lake's steepest streets. Teenagers around Salt Lake have found a new hobby to pass summer nights -- longboarding.

"It's like snowboarding pretty much."

It's a thrill ride that kids say gets their blood pumping, but has passing pedestrians and motorists wondering, are they crazy? Ian Cowie says it beats sitting around at home.

Ian Cowie, Longboarder: "It's something to do, instead of going to someone's house and sitting and watching a movie, we get to go outside and ride."

Longboarding Increasingly Popular, Dangerous

"Thirty-five to 40 top speed maybe."

and the traffic, getting hit by a car is a fear. So are potholes and board wobbles.

"Your board starts wobbling by going to fast."

But their biggest worry is cops.

"Police are definitely a big fear now, they've started cracking down a lot."

According to law, longbarders, like cyclists, have the right to be on the road, and when they're going the posted speed limit, they have to follow traffic laws like drivers. And police highly, highly encourage wearing a helmet.

Colby Johnson agrees -- just a few weeks ago when he was being pulled from the back of motorcycle on his longboard and crashed; he wasn't wearing a helmet.

Colby Johnson, Longboarder: "I was just longboarding and got speed wobble and fell face first, and broke my nose and cracked my head open. And I got rushed to the hospital."

His wounds have healed, but he still gets dizzy from hitting his head so hard.

Laurie Johnson, Colby's Mother: "They go out the door, you say, 'Okay, protect yourself,' but they're going to go out and do it whether you tell them or not."

Ian says he always wears a helmet, but still has a few injuries.

Ian Cowie: "I got a little bit there, nothing too gnarly."

Ian also always wears these slide gloves, made out of his mom's cutting board.

Ian Cowie: "If you did those slides you were doing without gloves, it would rip you to shreds."

Ian admits this may be a phase and one day he may be the nervous driver watching as kids roll by, but for now he say's he's not worried about being in the spotlight. Like cyclists, if longbarders aren't going the posted speed limit, they're supposed to stay off as far as they can on the right side of the road. Salt Lake Police say they haven't had any complaints about longboarders, but they'll keep an eye on them.

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