LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) - A proposed ban on bicycles and skateboarders drew a protest in Lancaster Friday night.
Teens are protesting the proposed ban, that would force them to take their bikes and boards elsewhere.
Eric Raedel said, "Every skater, every BMXer... in a way, it's sort of like a brotherhood around here. You take it away from one of us, you take it away from all of us. We're not standing for it. We're going to stand up and we're going to fight for our rights, because it's our right to skate."
The Lancaster Village Board is thinking about banishing skateboards from Central Avenue and other parts of the business district, in response to complaints from a handful of business owners. Some business have complained that the teens pose a safety hazard to pedestrians on the sidewalk. But that's not how they see it.
"I believe people are just exaggerating the 'traffic' problems on the sidewalks," Raedel said.
Shane Anderson added, "We'd be out here in front of the shop; he'd say 'Move off the bricks, guys. Clear out. There's people coming through.' And we would. We wouldn't have any problems with that."
Central Avenue resident Richard Fenske stated, "I'd rather have them out here skating on the sidewalk than in the street."
"They can go wherever. They don't bother me. They're not causing no problems; they're not doing anything destructive," said resident Dale Sarama.
Sirens Skate Shop owner Dan Pritchard was so frustrated with the ban that he actually closed his store two weeks ago. The owner of the cafe next door welcomes the teens as customers. He tells News 4, there are only a few "bad apples."
The teens say, Pritchard expected them to be respectful. He didn't tolerate illegal or rowdy behavior from anyone hanging out at his shop.
"Dan Pritchard actually taught us to to be courteous, and to move out of the way of pedestrians," Raedel said. "Because if we don't, then we're just amplifying the stigma of skaters being punks and BMXers being punks."
Before the ban can go into effect, the Lancaster Village Board has to set a date for a public hearing. The board meets next on Monday night, and the teens say, they're planning to be there.
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