Skateboarding is legal in public places, including the sidewalk.
It is important to know that there is a common misconception that skateboards cannot be used on sidewalks or the sides of roads. However, in most municipalities, it’s simply that, a misconception.
Like bikes or rollerblades, skateboards are perfectly fine to ride on the sidewalk as long as pedestrians are yielded to.
Still, you should look up your cities by-laws as these rules can differ from city to city.
Can You Skateboard On The Sidewalk Of Private Property?
Private property owners may forbid skateboarding on their premises, including the sidewalk that is within their property limits. It is their right.
That being said, if you skateboard on private property, the property owner is not liable for any injury or fatality that may occur due to skateboarding as skateboarding is on the list of “hazardous recreational activities.” That means that if you hurt yourself on a skateboard, it’s your own fault.
Regardless of whether or not the property owner has signs stating that skateboarding is not allowed or skateboard at your own risk, you are still at fault if you get injured on private property. So that being said, property owners are not allowed to take your board or physically assault you.
If you refuse to vacate, they need to call the police and from there stay out of it. This is an instance where you can be arrested for trespassing, but in most cases, the cops would escort you home or ask you to leave.
Remember To Yield To Pedestrians
Pedestrians (including skateboarders) must use sidewalks rather than the roadway unless there are no sidewalks.
If there are no sidewalks, the skateboarder should travel in the left lane of the road, facing traffic, and move off the roadway for oncoming cars.
While the act of skateboarding in public places is not illegal, it is technically illegal to skate without a helmet, which is generally a fineable offense. So you cannot be arrested for skating on the sidewalk, but you can be fined if you aren’t wearing a helmet.
Can You Get Arrested For Skating On The Sidewalk?
Skateboarders should never be arrested for skating on the sidewalk. That being said, when skaters are arrested, it is generally due to escalation.
Things like refusing to listen to the police, destruction of property, or assault and battery, can be cause for jail time.
Sometimes citizens step beyond their bounds by trying to take the skateboard (theft) or by attacking the skaters (assault and battery) when they get agitated with skaters on the sidewalk or on private property. In this situation, record the incident if possible, remain polite, and call the police.
The problem is some skaters escalate, and it goes from a non-crime to a misdemeanor or, worse, a felony.
In summary – skateboarding is not illegal, but proper protection is required by law. Skaters cannot be lawfully arrested unless the skater did something illegal like vandalism or assaulting a property owner.
A skater cannot sue a property owner if he/she hurts themselves skateboarding as it is a hazardous activity, and property owners are not technically allowed to take the skater’s property or lay a hand on the skater.
Is It Legal To Ride You Skateboard On The Street?
Foot scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades may be ridden on footpaths unless signs specifically prohibit them, however, riders must keep to the left and give way to other pedestrians. Powered foot scooters and skateboards cannot be registered and can only be used on private land.
Still, this will also vary from city to city and state to state. So make sure to check the local bylaws ahead of time.
Can The Police Take Your Skateboard?
Technically, yes, the police can confiscate your skateboard and video camera as evidence. Anything and everything can be considered evidence, therefore, officers can confiscate whatever they want if they deem it can be used as evidence at trial.
So keep your cool, hand over your board, and it should be returned to you.
If the police take your property, it may eventually be returned to you. Your skateboard, camera, or other equipment that was seized by the police as evidence to be used at trial can be retrieved by court order or by following the instructions printed on a property receipt.
If you are not given a receipt for your property, you must immediately go to the local police department that employs the police officer who arrested you. Tell the office at the front desk, “Please direct me to the confiscated or seized property division,” or “A police officer seized my property, what are the steps I need to take to get the property back?”
If you remain respectful, you’ll find out the particular way in which the local police department or local court handles the receipt and return of property seized as evidence, and you’ll likely be able to get the property back.
Need A Hand Skateboarding On The Sidewalk?
If you keep getting caught or fall off of your board because of sidewalk cracks, then you’ll want to learn these few tricks.
- Try lifting up your front wheels with the tail when you’re about to ride over a crack.
- Put most of your weight over your back wheels. You don’t need to lift your front wheels if you apply enough weight. Then you’ll be cruising over cracks and pebbles without stopping short.
- Don’t look at your feet when you skateboard, look where you are going.
Falling is just a part of skating and it doesn’t matter how good you are. Once you can accept the risks work on managing those risks. Don’t put yourself in a position to get really hurt bad, but step up to challenges in small steps.
Remember to wear a helmet and pads, these will protect you but will also help you relax and feel more confident. Once you start getting better you may find that you no longer want to wear the pads. Just remember to ALWAYS wear your helmet.