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On 01 April 2017 at 11:04 | updated on 18 April 2017 at 13:09

10 Possible Consequences of the Disappearance of the Paris City Skates

10 Possible Consequences of the Disappearance of the Paris City Skates

It's been over a month that the Paris City Skates are frozen, for lack of an agreement between the organizing skating associations and the Paris police prefecture. What would be the possible consequences of such a decision on the practice of skating in the French capital, and on the rest of the national territory? Analysis of the situation...

By  Aurélien GACHET

Situational Analysis

La randonnée de Ride On LilleDespite their taking part of the Parisian urban setting for over 20 years (a whole generation!), the recent events remind us with violence that nothing should ever be taken for granted for the city skates of our big cities. The symbolic meetings of Paris, the Friday Night Fever and the Rollers et Coquillages Skate are both under threat of extinction.

The big strikes of 1995 witnessed — even triggered — the booming of skating, an unprecedented movement in France. Over 80 conurbations throughout the whole French territory saw the creation of city skates.

But don't go thinking that their existence has always been an evidence. In Paris, just like in other big French cities, Lille or Montpellier, city skates had to fight hard to acquire their statuses and legibility. In some other main cities, like Marseille, they have already disappeared. Skaters attending city skates don't always have the hindsight to realize it.

1. The Tempting Comeback of Non-Official City Skates

We already witness it with the aggressive practices (skate, skateboard, scooter, BMX), skateparks are not enough to channel all skaters on a unique spot. Skating is just like other urban wheeled practices, and draws its essence from the topology of the city. Without official events, skaters will keep on practicing autonomously, and in non-secured ways. Removing means is only shifting the problem, maybe even accentuating it.

2. The Fragmentation of Skater Groups

Rollers et Coquillages et Pari RollerLet's illustrate this point by the scenario of a disaster movie: it's all very nice to explode a huge meteor instead of deviating its course, but in the end, you find yourself with thousands of fragments heading right towards the Earth. They are going to be even harder to manage! Supervised mass practice will be replaced by small mobile groups, uncontrollable and erratic, that will increase the risks of friction, maybe even accident.

3. The Lack of Identified Representative for the Authorities

When you have a non-official city skate, most of the time, there is no organizing association behind it. It is the case for all informal meetings set up on Facebook or OVS. The authorities will have a hard time to find a representative to talk to, and channel those "spontaneous" gatherings.

4. Increased Risks for Skaters

Randonnée Rollers et CoquillagesWith lack of qualified and visible staff (yellow reflective vests, lights), or without staff at all, the skaters, left to their own devices, will put themselves into more danger than within a structured skate, staffed by expert skaters. In official skates, skating red lights, with the trafic blocked by the staff or a police officier, doesn't have the same consequences as in an informal skate, undeclared at the prefecture, especially in case of an accident.
There's no smoke without fire: did you know that, in London, those informal city skates are nicknamed "Suicidal" skates?

5. Conflicts on the Public Place

Relations with car drivers who find themselves blocked by city skates are not alway very cordial. It is quite frequent that drivers try to force their way through, or a pizza delivery, a pedestrian in a hurry... Most of the time, the arrival of the forces of order is enough to calm the vehement motorized persons. But imagine the same scene in an unofficial city skate, it will be a whole other story.

6. The Decredibilization of the Skating Movement

Eventually, the lack of structure may lead to two consequences on the image of skating:
- A progressive desertion of skaters, leaving the asphalt in favor of other practices, making the skating movement lose in size and decline some more.
- An identity becoming blurred and unclear, an illegal practice image, disturbing public order.

7. The Loss of an Exceptional Weekly Showcase for Skating

Randonnée roller en AllemagneBig city skates have been regularly featured in the media since their creation. They create a bond between the associations and the general public. They are often a place of recruitment for skating clubs, an opening to other skating practices. They make skating visible. They show skating is not just a child's play, but also a fully-fledged sports practice.

8. A Hard Blow for Green Transport Militancy

While a handful of leaders enter the dark side of the denial of climatic changes, the blow to city skates is also a blow to a certain vision of ecology, and to alternative means of transport. The comeback of the almighty car... Regression is right around the corner!

9. The Decrease of the Tourist Appeal of the French Capital

Just like green lanes are adding value to the French territory, city skates enable skaters to own the city and discover it with a fresh look — not behind a driving wheel. People come from all around the world to skate the streets of Paris, with all the financial benefits that it generates for the local economy.

10. A Possible Snowball Effect on Provincial Cities

Today, it's Paris. Tomorrow, Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier, Lille, and why not others? Who says that other city councils won't follow the example of the French capital? Let's support the Parisian city skates now, not to wake up in a few months realizing the same fate is now happening to other city skates.

Further Readings

Page of the petition to sign in favor of the Paris City Skates

City Skates: From the 80's Until Today

Genesis of City Skates

Released  on 01 April 2017 - Read 7725 times

By :
Bénévole sur REL et Spotland depuis plusieurs année je pratique le roller depuis 2008 au Skate Club Lorrain d'Hettange-Grande. Ces dernières je me suis orienté vers la pratique de la longue distance et des courses en solo. Je gère Spotland et effectue quelques articles et news sur REL, un juste retour de ce que m'a apporté ce site.

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