Last week the Hamptons Police Department announced new rules aimed at reducing the dangers posed by skateboards and scooters in the area. The rules limit the use of skateboards and scooters to those under the age of 30.
“We’d been noticing for several years that the age of the people riding skateboards and scooters in the area kept going up,” says Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch. “We’d always considered these inherently dangerous toys to be a folly of the youth—something to ride around on until you got your driver’s license—and so we had tolerated them. But now we’ve seen people approaching their 40s pushing their aging frames around on these things—it’s a problem, because they’re injuring themselves and diverting police and emergency crews from critical work.”
The new rules say that police can stop any skateboarder or scooter rider whom they suspect of being 30 years of age or older. If the suspect is 30 or older, or is unable to show definite proof of age, the skateboard or scooter will be confiscated and he or she will be subject to a fine.
“Some people might think this is unduly harsh,” Hirsch says. “But I’m sorry, a 38-year-old does not have the reflexes of a 16-year-old. Sooner or later, these guys are gonna be street pizza, and we’re supposed to clean that up? Not anymore.”
The announcement of the new rules has caused alarm in some quarters. Michael Bauer, who runs counseling sessions for men and women who are going through mid-life crises, decries the police’s actions. “How dare they put up barriers for how the middle-aged can choose to act out their despair over their lost youth,” Bauer says. “If a 42-year-old woman who has never ridden a skateboard before in her life decides to hop on one and ride it down a hill, that’s her right—whether she makes it down in one piece or not.”
Bauer points out that the standard mid-life crisis response—that is, buying a red Ferrari and driving around with the top down—is not available to those of modest means. “For some people, maybe a scooter is all they can afford as they try to relive their teenage years. This is discrimination, plain and simple.”
Thus far, the Hamptons Police have been unmoved by this criticism of the new rules. “As far as we’re concerned, the biggest problem is having middle-aged folks who never rode a skateboard before in their lives who decide that now is the time,” says spokesman Hirsch. “I hate to say it, but they’re too late. Party’s over.”