Will Deming loves to hit the open road. He's a longboarder. It's like skateboarding, with a longer board.
"It was just a surfy feeling living in a landlocked state," Deming said.
It's not just about the feeling, for Deming it's his favorite mode of transportation. "This is how I got here," he said.
He often boards between Winooski and Burlington. But he did not always wear safety gear.
After a friend was seriously injured in a crash several years ago, that changed. He now wears a helmet and slide gloves to help slow down.
"These essentially take the friction from wheels and put it on your hands, so you can do a slide," explained Peter Difonzo, a longboarder.
A Champlain College student sadly did not survive a crash Tuesday. Burlington Police say Peter Cernansky was going downhill on Spruce Street, lost control, fell and hit his head. The
18-year-old from Stamford, Conn., was not wearing a helmet. His family was with him when he died at Fletcher Allen Thursday.
"Head injuries are a big thing," Burlington Police Cpl. Mike Hemond said.
YouTube videos show riders in Burlington not following the rules of the road. Hemond says in Burlington, whether you're on a bicycle, skateboard or longboard, you have to follow the same laws as cars.
"Stopping at stop signs, red lights, turning and behaving properly at intersections," Hemond said.
Police say they are having more issues with boarders breaking rules, like holding onto buses for rides up hills.
"Longboarders are more prone to be weaving or running stop signs. As you're coming down Maple, four-way stop signs all the way down, but if you're using the street like slalom course, you're less likely to stop at those. So those are stop sign violations," Hemond said.
"If I don't feel comfortable taking a run, I'm not going to take a run," he said.
Burlington police started a new multimobile initiative this summer to address concerns about longboarder safety. Basically they have more motorcycles, bicycles and foot officers as opposed to vehicle enforcement in targeted areas to crack down on unsafe riders.
There are no laws requiring helmets.
Champlain College President David Finney released a statement saying the school is grieving the loss of a promising member of the community. The school is also working with Cernansky's family, friends and classmates, and offering counseling to anyone on campus.
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