You do skateboarding for a variety of reasons, either recreation or an extreme sport. It can be a risky activity if not regulated, and that’s why bylaws exist. Laws govern, ban, or control skateboarding in specific locations and circumstances. These laws vary from one state to another. In this article, we will take you through various skateboarding laws, especially in the USA. These laws mostly govern skateboarding as a recreational activity.
Is Skateboarding a Crime?
Skateboarding is not a crime unless you break set rules and guidelines. With this in mind, there exist two kinds of skateboarding activities, legal and illegal. Legal skateboarding occurs when you follow established guidelines and laws when doing it. It can be a professional skateboarding or recreational. Illegal skateboarding happens when you ignore or break the set laws. Illegal coasting can occur in the following ways:
This act occurs when you skateboard in private zone areas with a “No skateboarding” signpost. They may be private property areas or public like in courts, government offices streets, and more. These areas may have a signpost or fences around them as an indication they are restricted areas. Property owner mostly protects their property from damage and still avoid any fines incase a skater is injured while in their premises.
If therefore, you have to hop a fence as you skateboard, that’s trespassing whether there is a signpost or not. If it’s necessary to skate in those restricted areas, always ask for permission. You will have saved yourself the trouble of fines or punishments for violating the instructions.
Breaking Regular Laws
It’s a crime to break laws as you skateboard. Customary rules may vary in different states. For instance, in Washington DC, skateboarding in the city is not allowed except in wards 2 and 6. If you ride there, you will be breaking the law. In other states, you shouldn’t skateboard on sidewalks, and there are fines when you violate this law. It’s therefore wise to learn and understand bills in your state to avoid getting into trouble skateboarding.
Skating in No Skate Zones
As you skate, avoid areas with “No Skating signposts.” These posts prohibit skateboarding for some reasons like protecting their property, preventing any cause of chaos or noise. Additionally, zones are cap with ledges, rails, and skate stoppers, an indication they are “No skating zone.” These zones may include busy malls streets, universities’ streets, libraries, and more.
Ignoring Local Laws When Skateboarding
When you don’t follow laws as you coast, you will be doing illegal skateboarding. For example, in Canton, Ohio, it’s illegal to skateboard on the street. Failure to follow some simple rules can cost you a lot. You will either be fined or perceived as a criminal by the locals.
Vandalism is the intentional destruction of private or public property. As you skate, you can quickly run into someone, hitting with a skateboard or simply startle. The situation can cause chaos, lead to fines, whether it was an accident or not. Again, destroying people’s property can make you an enormous mess, especially if they call the police. You should, therefore, be extra careful as you skate.
Skateboarding legally is possible if you follow all set bylaws. It means skating at the right places, sliding properly, using protective gear, and obeying all traffic rules. Most professional skaters usually follow this since they have a career to protect and depend on gliding for a living.
They, therefore, practice their tricks at the right places to prepare for any contest. Again, school kids do it legally if they practice under the supervision of a coach while in school or in private or public parks where allowed.
Where is Skateboarding Illegal?
Below are some laws in the USA where skating is not allowed in some areas.
- In California, Los Angeles, it’s illegal to slide throughout the courthouse or library, to avoid any distractions in the areas.
- NYC city, you cannot skate in a group of more than two abreast. Your concentration is critical as you slip and may be affected when doing in a group.
- New York city self-balancing kind of skating is illegal as you can quickly lose track while on the road.
- Tennessee, you cannot ride while listening to the radio. Its to ensure you have all attention on skating to avoid any accidents.
- San Francisco, you should observe curfew hours as you stake that is 30minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise in non-business areas. The rule ensures there are fewer people in the streets, reducing any collision that might occur.
- NY city, it’s also illegal to skateboard recklessly. You should be mindful of people’s safety, your safety, and others’ property too.
- Auburn, Alabama, you shouldn’t slide in commercialized zones. These are areas like banks, malls, mainly for business purposes. These areas tend to be busy and crowded with people, and you can easily cause vandalism there.
- Akron, Ohio, is not allowed to skate at night for your safety as you can easily fall due to poor lighting.
- In Canton, Ohio, skating in the street is illegal, as you can quickly run into pedestrians and hurt them.
- Salem, Oregon City, skating under the age of 16 without a helmet is unlawful and can lead to a fine of $25. Underage kids can easily fall and severely injured compared to adults. They even offer free helmets to kids from needy families.
- In Pennsylvania, Warren city, there is no slipping on any street in the town or designated areas shown on a map.
- The University of Texas Austin prohibits skating on a sidewalk, walkway, patio, plaza, grass, shrubbery, or any unmarked or unimproved ground area unless such areas are signed as a shared pathway and marked for driving, except as authorized by the director.
Is it Illegal to Hold onto a Car while Skateboarding?
Hooky bobbing is the act of hitching a ride car from a motorized vehicle while on a non-motorized recreational device.
It’s against the law to hold onto a car, truck, bus or any vehicle while skateboarding. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 25,000 people suffer yearly skateboarding-related injuries, including hitching. Skitching is inherently dangerous: it’s done in traffic, sometimes at high speeds and without the driver’s knowledge or adequate training or protection.
In Australia and Us, skitching in illegal, and one can face charges primarily when an accident occurs. For example, in New York, it’s not allowed under the traffic law. Hitching can be fatal when you don’t have protective gear like a helmet. A driver may hurt a skater, by intentionally accelerating or driving erratically and could lead to severe injuries or death. Avoid skitching as you skate because it’s unsafe.
Is it Illegal to Ride a Skateboard Without a Helmet?
In some states, sliding without a helmet is unlawful, mainly for underage kids. In California, for instance, some laws govern the use of headgear while skateboarding. If you’re under 18 years, you should use a head protector, which is well-fast and meets American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
In Canada, there are also helmet policies to follow as you skate, especially while been trained. According to the many deaths and injuries that occur while skateboarding, lack of headgear is the primary cause. You should, therefore, follow the set policies for your safety. Ensure the helmet meets the set standards in your state and be well-fastened. Protect yourself from head injuries, which can be fatal or lead to permanent disability. It therefore not safe to ride a slide without a helmet.
Do Skaters Have to Stop at Stop signs?
The law’s application depends on the state’s and what the definition of skateboarders means to them. Like in Washington DC, skaters are defined as pedestrians. “A pedestrian is a person who travels by foot and using conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle.”
In Charleston city, a skater should ride with the flow of traffic and observe all traffic signs and signals. It means in Charleston skaters are more like vehicles than pedestrians, and should obey stop signs seen by cars. Failure to follow these guidelines can lead them to pay fines. Also, in Santa Cruz county, you should follow all roadways regulations, including “stop at all stop and red signals” as you skateboard. California persons riding on skateboards on public roadways should obey all speed limits, stop signs, signal lights, and other traffic controls that govern right-of-way. Those who fail to observe these rules are guilty of an infraction and subject to fines as established in various city councils.
Importance of Skateboarders Stopping at Stop Signs
- It helps to keep sanity on the road and sidewalks
- To prevent any collision that can lead to injuries
- You will not land into any infraction of the law, which can lead to fines or charges if an accident occurs.
Traffic Rules You Should Follow for Safety
Apart from observing stop at stop signs rules, there are other traffic laws that you should follow as you skate. They include:
- In Washington, measures require you to use sidewalks. In areas without, they should travel on the left lane of the traffic and move off when there are incoming vehicles.
- You should also observe the required speed limit while on the road, for instance, in Charleston, and you should not use more than 25miles per hour except when crossing a street at crosswalks.
- You should exercise safety while on the road or when on sidewalks for others’ safety.
- Using safety gear while you skate like in California, it’s a must for children under 18years.
- Use of lights while you skate at night and reflectors. Lights will help pedestrians or traffic to spot you at night easily. It also helps in detecting any cracks or potholes as you skate.
- You should not impede or interfere with traffic flow.
- Yield to the pedestrians at marked or unmarked crosswalks.
Can You Get a Ticket for Skateboarding?
You can quickly get a ticket when you fail to follow the set bylaws, the circumstances that can lead to ticketing include; vandalism, trespassing, lack of helmet, and more. For example, in Canada Winnipeg city, officers issued their 1St ticket during COVID 19 as skaters broke health public rules. The people involved violated social distance rules.
Check this too: Can I Ride an Electric Skateboard on the Road?
According to the Star-News, other skateboarders were issued a ticket during this COVID 19 period for skating in a closed park and still disregarding social distancing rules in Mississauga. As you slip, you should be aware of all set rules and guidelines to avoid colliding with the law, whether ticketing or not. Other instances can call for a fine in the USA. They are as follows;
- In San Francisco, you can get a fine of $ 25 if you fail to wear a helmet as a minor.
- In Los Angeles, you can get a ticket for over-speeding while skateboarding.
- Wellington city, North Carolina, you can receive a citation if you found skateboarding in the central business district. This law also makes it illegal to ride a skateboard faster than 10 miles per hour through an intersection.
- Skaters who are riding downtown in Washington risk getting a ticket because the area is restricted.
Issuing a ticket is not just a warning or a punishment. It’s a measure of ensuring security for you as a skater and the public.
Is it Illegal to Ride a Skateboard Drunk?
To start with, it’s not safe to ride a skateboard when drunk. Chances of falling and getting into a severe accident are high. When you are intoxicated, you will lose balance and quickly fall. You can also run over pedestrians and cause serious injuries that can lead to charges.
In New York, if you slide when drunk is not illegal, as the law mostly applies to drivers, but all the same, you are not safe yet. You can face other misdemeanor charges, like public intoxication. In other US states like Colorado, it’s illegal to skateboard while drunk, and there are clear laws.
Australia, it’s unlawful to skate when drunk as proved when a young man was charged for skateboarding while drunk. The man had no control of his motion and forced drivers to break suddenly. You should then rest until your sober to ride for your safety.
Can you Skateboard on Sidewalks?
Most states do not allow skateboarding on sidewalks, especially in commercialized areas in cities. Where permitted, you should yield to the pedestrians and also ride at a slow speed. Various states have different laws on skating at sidewalks. They include:
- New York City skating at sidewalks is legal, but you should follow all set traffic rules.
- In Charleston city, you shouldn’t use sidewalks leading to schools or commercial zones.
- According to the municipal code, Coronado is unlawful to skateboard on any public sidewalk in the designated business district. It’s illegal also, to use paths on any public property during dark hours.
- Aliso Viejo city in California prohibits skateboarding on sidewalks in the following areas;
- Within the business center
- Adjacent to public schools when school is in session
- Adjacent to churches during services
- In Wellington, North Carolina, it’s against the law to skate on a public sidewalk, public streets in the central business.
- San Clemente, the city council, has the discretion to prohibit skateboarding on specific sidewalks. These areas, such as the 100 block of Avenida del Mar, are posted with signs. On the streets, you can receive a ticket for interfering with the flow of traffic.
- In Laguna Beach, they prohibit riding on all sidewalks in the city.
- Tustin restricts skateboards on all city streets; on sidewalks, riders must yield the right to pedestrians.
Street Skateboarding Tips and Tricks for Safety
The following are tips to help you enjoy skateboarding while remaining safe.
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under five shouldn’t skateboard. Kids between 6-10 should only skateboard under the supervision of an adult. The guideline is necessary because;
- Kids have a higher center of gravity, poor balance, thus more likely to fall.
- Less reaction and slow coordination and can easily break.
- You should always wear proper protective gear as you skate. The equipment is as follows:
- Proper fitting helmet and up to the set standards. You should always wear a multi-sport or skateboarding helmet that fits your head snugly. A helmet should sit low on your forehead and have side straps that form a “V” shape around each ear as well as a buckle that fastens tightly under your chin.
If you can fit more than two fingers between the strap and your chin, it’s not tight enough. Also, be sure your helmet is multi-use and capable of taking more than one hit.
- Wrist guards to protect your wrist and reduce chances of breaking
- Knee and elbow pads to reduce the severity of cuts, scrapes, and gravel burns
- Closed-toe shoes that have slip-resistant soles
- Googles to protect your eyes from debris
- If you perform tricks, use the heavy-duty gear.
- If skateboarding away from traffic, ensure you:
- Avoid skating on irregular surfaces, like where there are cracks, rocks to prevent accidents.
- Don’t skate in crowded walkways or darkness because chances of having a collision are high.
- Never hold onto a vehicle while skateboarding, you could fall and be thrown onto incoming traffic if the car suddenly turns, stops or slows.
- Master skateboarding skills like how to stop, slow down, and turn. Some of the capabilities are:
- Fall safely by crouching on the skateboard so that you don’t have to fall far.
- Land on fleshy parts of your body or roll rather than breaking the fall with your arms. It prevents your arms from breaking due to the high impact on hitting the ground.
- Relax when falling, and you will not have more severe injuries or fractures.
- Practice falling on soft surfaces or grass.
- Ensure you empty your pockets of all hard or sharp objects while skating. They might cause injuries to you when you fall.
- Practice tricks and jumps in a safe environment like skateparks where you can access emergency medical care.
- Avoid riding a skateboard more than one person, its not natural to concentrate or control it when you’re many.
- Do not use headphones as you skateboard to ensure you are alert of what is happening in the surrounding.
- Keep your skateboard well maintained to prevent any accidents when it’s not in good condition.
- Always skate within your limits. If you lack experience, don’t overdo it and slip in safe places.
- Ensure you warm up before every session, which will help your body to be loose and flexible. Your body also gets used to the sport and healing in case your hurt.
- Skate safely by observing specific measures like:
- Avoid skateboarding while drunk.
- Follow set traffic rules to prevent any accidents.
- Avoid skateboarding at night, but if it’s a must ensure you follow the following:
- Have durable, reliable headlamps to illuminate the ground so that you can see the way.
- Stick to familiar routes at night, where you are aware of where to get a crack, pothole, or rough surface.
- Ride slowly and keenly to reduces the chances of crushing.
Skateboarding is a good sport, whether for recreational or professional purposes. If you skate in the right places and manner, it’s legal. Observing all set guidelines and safety measures will help you enjoy skateboarding. All States and countries should also designate more public parks, especially where skating is prohibited, to encourage skaters to keep-on and observe rules.
Showing support to skaters will motivate them to train and skate in the recommended manner and more so in observing safety. Ensure as you slide to wear all protective gear to protect yourself in case of any injuries. Again, don’t ride when drunk as you can simply lose balance and crash. Lastly, obeying traffic rules is essential to avoid violating laws and get into trouble while skateboarding.