Free Lee Breen! Jailed for Skateboarding in Public
Lee Breen lives green; his day job is running a landscaping company that uses push mowers, hand clippers and organic compost. He says that the City of Fredricton, (New Brunswick, Canada) should be encouraging non-polluting forms of transportation. But even though he was skating at the edge of the road, wearing a helmet and actually using hand signals, he was arrested last summer for breaching a local bylaw that prohibits the use of "a sled, toboggan, wagon or skateboard on the streets of New Brunswick's capital."
In April, a judge fined him $ 100 or five days in jail. Lee knew what he had to do; "If I pay the fine, I would be admitting I was doing something wrong...This isn't the first green activity I've been involved in. I even started my own gas-free lawn care company ... . This is a way of life for me"
So yesterday they jailed him.
Curiously, Fredericton has a "Green Matters Initiative" that promotes alternative transportation. Lee's brother Fergus Breen writes in the local paper:
"I personally use a skateboard for transportation from my house to my place of employment in downtown Fredericton. I wear a helmet, use hand signals and stay to the side of the street. The argument that this is more dangerous than biking simply does not hold water.
Fredericton's Green Matters initiative on active transportation reads as follows:
"Canadian adults take over 2,000 car trips every year that are three kilometers or shorter. Leaving the car keys at home and pulling out the walking shoes or bike helmet can save you gas money, reduce your emissions by up to 250 kilograms of CO2 per year, and help you become more physically active."
Skateboarding is active transportation. Lee is being incarcerated for adhering to Fredericton's Green Matters and active transportation policies.
I am certain that future generations would support Lee and condemn a city council who jailed a man for using zero-emissions transportation when the perils of global warming and increased carbon emissions had become so apparent."
watch video here
It is surprising that Fredericton allows bicycles; "It's a public safety issue," said Wayne Knorr. "It's not about a 12-year-old kid going through a neighbourhood, it's about an adult male, endangering himself and the motorists around him.
"The bylaw itself is related to nuisances. When you're out in traffic, obstructing traffic, backing up traffic, you're creating a nuisance by endangering yourself and others."