Skateboarding and the Law

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California Law

In California on September 30, 1997, thanks to Assembly Bill AB1296 and later Senate Bill SB994, Section 115800 of the Health and Safety Code was amended so that we actually have skateparks again. This is the best thing that has happened to the sport of skateboarding in the past 25 years. This bill frees local municipalities from the liabilities and dangers associated with skateboarding so that they can build public use skateparks. Thanks goes out to all the nice people that made this happen!!

Currently the Code reads as follows:


(a) No operator of a skateboard park shall permit any person to ride a skateboard therein, unless that person is wearing a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads. (b) With respect to any facility, owned or operated by a local public agency, that is designed and maintained for the purpose of recreational skateboard use, and that is not supervised on a regular basis, the requirements of subdivision (a) may be satisfied by compliance with the following: (1) Adoption by the local public agency of an ordinance requiring any person riding a skateboard at the facility to wear a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads. (2) The posting of signs at the facility affording reasonable notice that any person riding a skateboard in the facility must wear a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads, and that any person failing to do so will be subject to citation under the ordinance required by paragraph (1). (c) "Local public agency" for purposes of this section includes, but is not limited to, a city, county, or city and county.

(d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2003.

One important aspect of this bill is that it requires ALL users to wear helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads. Remember, this is a state requirement, not a local requirement. After 20 years of skateboarding and hundreds of potentially life ending crashes, I fully agree with the intent and desire for the inclusion of this caveat. I am now old (35) and every fall hurts worse than the last, so I have to wear full pads just so that I can ride. Some riders are still too young or just too stupid to understand how much protective gear can protect you while improving your skating, so they make big arguments about not having to wear full pads. I was young once, I used to think this way. Anyway, say what you will about full pads, but most municipalities really only get down on the helmet rules. I can count to 10 the number of times in the past 5 years of riding in a skatepark that not having my helmet on would have lead to a serious brain injury or death following a major crash. I cannot stand by and say that it is cool to watch a 12 year old kid at the bottom of a bowl going into seizures resulting from not having head protection.

Please, show some respect for yourself and the people who worked so hard to get these parks built and wear your helmet.

Marin Law

10.03.190 McInnis Park skatepark.

A. McInnis Park skatepark is hereby designated and maintained for the purpose of recreational skateboard and in-line skating use only. All other uses are prohibited.

B. The skatepark shall be open during regular McInnis Park hours, or as otherwise designated by the department of parks and open space.

C. No person shall use the skatepark without wearing a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads. A sign shall be posted at the facility advising users of the foregoing safety equipment requirements.

D. Any person failing to wear the required safety equipment shall be guilty of an infraction and subject to citation therefore. Every violation of the ordinance codified in this section is punishable by: (1) A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars for a first violation; (2) A fine not exceeding two hundred dollars for a second violation within one year; (3) A fine not exceeding five hundred dollars for each additional violation within one year.

E. Nothing contained in this section is intended to abrogate or limit any legal rights, defenses, or immunities that may be available at law. (Ord. 3396 § 1, 2003)

F. The County is not liable for any injury incurred by participants at this facility.