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Dangerous Freeway Skateboarding Trend Is Picking Up Steam in California

The latest trend among thrill-seekingCalifornia teenagers involves riding a skateboard on the freeway during rush hour and performing all sorts of stunts. The ‘Freeway Challenge’ made its online debut last week, with skater Nakel Smith posting footage of himself skating down the 110 freeway in LA. Since then, several skateboarders have tried copying the idea, giving rise to the trending social media hashtag #FreewayChallenge.

While most of the copycats are trying Smith’s original stunts, some are pulling off their own, like dropping down a shoulder ramp and riding directly out into oncoming traffic, or hanging on to the back of large trucks. California Highway Patrol officials are obviously concerned, and have tried warning these skaters about the dangers involved with the challenge. “This isn’t a joke to us,” said officer Edgar Fugeroa, speaking to KTLA 5 News. “A person puts themselves out there (on a freeway) – that is a deadly trick.”

“You don’t know what the other cars are going to do or if a motorcycle is going to come into one of your lanes. They could strike you and kill you, and that’s not what we want.”

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“We are aware of skateboarding on the freeways in downtown and parts of L.A.,” added officer Jose Nunez. “There has been social media and there have been hashtags appearing with a challenge to skateboarders. These are not safe places and weren’t designed for that kind of thing. This is an enforceable action and if we can identify any one or vehicle, action will be taken against those individuals.

 

Investigators are trying to use Instagram to track down some of the skaters, using videos or images they may have posted online. If caught, they risk facing an expensive traffic citation, or worse, even jail time.

 

Interestingly, not everyone thinks the Freeway Challenge is dangerous. Some drivers are actually impressed, and don’t consider it dangerous in the midst of LA’s slow-moving gridlocked traffic. “I think it’s pretty amazing actually,” a driver told CBS. “As long as they don’t get hurt. Love some entertainment during traffic.”

Sources: KTLA5, CBS