Skateboarding can be a great mode of transportation, exercise, and a way blow off some steam. But as free as you feel when you are boarding, there are laws and restrictions to keep in mind.
Common US skateboarding laws
Location, location, location
The biggest restriction on skateboarding is location. Private property owners can forbid boarding on the premises, like a shopping plaza forbidding it in the surrounding parking lots and buildings. Local ordinances are at play too, including laws that prohibit skateboarding on any commercial properties or public spaces like streets and sidewalks. It’s best to check into your local laws so you understand what is allowable in your area.
Age and safety
Some towns set up time restrictions on skateboarding, often prohibiting skating after dusk; others set up age restrictions, prohibiting skaters younger than 12. A New York City law ithat prohibits “reckless” skateboarding is a little more ambiguous. Helmets and other safety equipment are often required as well, as is the case in California.
Your best bet for worry-free skateboarding is to go to a skateboarding park where you can be sure you’re welcome. Follow the tips offered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on safe skateboarding, which advises riding during daylight, avoiding areas where you’ll encounter traffic, and eschewing alcohol or drugs when boarding.
If you are stopped for a skateboard violation you will most likely face a warning or a fine. Arrest is extremely unlikely, but multiple previous infractions can raise the likelihood of handcuffs and larger fines. You can also be held responsible for any damage your board does to public or private property, like scrapes on a handrail from a grind or a broken window from an errant board.
If you find yourself in serious trouble over skateboarding infractions, you should consult an attorney who handles municipal criminal complaints, such as traffic tickets. And if it’s your minor child who’s run afoul of the law, you should consider consulting a juvenile-law attorney.