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Cape Town - With nothing more than a board and four wheels, a daredevil hurtling down Kloof Nek road cracked the 60km/h speed limit and triggered a speed camera.
The antics of longboarder Decio Lourenco exploded on to the internet and CapeTalk on Tuesday after users on Twitter discovered video footage of him hitting breakneck speeds of 70km/h on the road running down from Camps Bay. At one point in the video, the 24-year-old skater sets off a speed camera.
Lourenco said he was enjoying the attention and he had spent the day with a big smile on his face.
“I’ve been skating down hills from a young age… often going much faster than that,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve gotten any attention for it.”
Friend and fellow skater André Roux, who filmed the rapid descent from his car, said the camera probably didn’t pick up Lourenco.
“I personally believe I triggered it with my car,” said Roux. “But I was sitting right on his ass, so he was actually riding at that speed.”
Roux said the decision to bomb down the mammoth hill wasn’t taken on a whim. Lourenco, who is in his final year at Red and Yellow college, has been skating for years, and has been placed in poll positions in numerous downhill races since he was 16.
“He’s proficient and he definitely knows what he’s doing,” said Roux. “Lourenco has been skating around Cape Town for eight years… nobody knows the streets better than him.
“People who watch the video and say that he has a death wish are wrong. He was fully in control of what he was doing.”
But, Roux said, there was no such thing as a risk-free situation. “We made it as safe as we could. We made sure the street was quiet… and that he was wearing a helmet and gloves.”
Roux said the stunt wouldn’t be repeated.
He stressed that people, particularly youngsters, shouldn’t attempt the rapid descent because a single false move could leave them dead. Last year, a Joburg longboarder was killed after he smashed into a truck on the Franschhoek Pass.
Dave Bryant, ward councillor for Table Mountain and nearby areas, said, technically, skaters weren’t allowed on public roads.
“But if they insist on riding on public roads, we encourage them to do it responsibly,” he said.
Bryant pointed out that it was illegal to speed on the roads regardless of the mode of transport – whether it was a car, bicycle or skateboard.
He said skaters who sped on the road were not only endangering themselves but also motorists who might be forced to swerve out of their way and cause an accident.
National Skate Collective’s Marco Morgan, whose organisation seeks to find a place for skaters in the city, said he did not endorse what Lourenco did, but he noted that there was a growing skating community with no designated roads or facilities for them to engage in the sport.
“If the city believes that this is an issue, it should engage with the skate community.”
City of Cape Town traffic services said they were aware of the incident and were investigating what had happened.