Skateboarding is a popular recreational activity. There are certain risks and dangers involved in skateboarding and roller skating activities, including skating itself, riding, assisting, and observing. Property owners have been reluctant or failed to make property available for skateboarding and roller skating activities because of the inherent risks in the activity, the exposure to liability, and the prohibitive cost of insurance, if insurance can be obtained for the activities. The recreational sports of skateboarding and roller skating are a wholesome and healthy family activity that should be encouraged. The allocation of risks and costs of skateboarding and roller skating activities is an important matter of public policy.
Skateboarding is regulated by state and local laws, which vary by location. For example, one state prohibits skateboarding in the streets and a city within that state further specifies that skateboarding is allowed only from a half-hour after dawn to a half-hour before dusk on sidewalks in residential districts and is off-limits altogether in commercial corridors. Local laws should be consulted for specific requirements in your area.
The following is an example of an excerpt from a state statute regulating skateboarding:
"(b)Any person who participates in or assists in roller skating or skateboarding in a park or rink designated for that purpose, regardless of whether publicly or privately owned, assumes the known and unknown inherent risks in roller skating and skateboarding activities and is legally responsible for all damages, injury, or death to himself or herself or other persons or property which result from these activities. Any person who observes skateboarding or roller skating activities in a rink or park designated for that purpose, regardless of whether publicly or privately owned, assumes the known and unknown inherent risks in this activity and is legally responsible for all damages, injury, or death to himself or herself which result from these activities.
(c) Every operator of a skateboard or roller skating park or rink shall post and maintain a warning sign in a clearly visible location at the entrance of the park or rink and any other conspicuous location within the park or rink as specified in this section. The sign shall serve as a warning to the roller skaters, skateboarders, assistants, spectators, and any others involved in this activity that the operator of the park or rink has limited civil liability under Alabama law for skateboarding and roller skating activities occurring at the park or rink. Failure to comply with the requirements concerning warning signs provided in this section shall prevent an operator of a park or rink from invoking the privileges of immunity provided by this section. The warning notice shall appear on the sign in black letters with each letter to be a minimum of one inch in height and shall contain the following notice:
"Under ... law, a skateboard or roller skating park or rink operator is not liable for injury, damages, or death of a participant, assistant, or spectator in skateboarding or roller skating activities in the park or rink resulting from the inherent risks of skateboarding or roller skating activities. If skateboarding is permitted in this facility, any person skateboarding in this facility must wear appropriate protective equipment including a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads."
(d) Any person participating in skateboarding or roller skating activities in a skateboard or roller skating park or rink, including participation as an assistant or spectator, is responsible for the following:
- Acting within the limits of his or her ability and the purpose and design of the equipment used.
- Maintaining control of his or her person and the equipment used.
- Refraining from acting in any manner which may cause or contribute to death or injury of himself or herself or other persons.
(e) Any person operating a skateboard or roller skating park or rink is responsible for the following:
- Posting and maintaining the required warning notice in one or more conspicuous places in the park or rink.
- Complying with all state and local safety codes regarding the conditions of the park or rink, including, but not limited to, the physical facilities such as safe lighting, fire extinguishers placed at appropriate intervals, railings, and the number of participants, assistants, and spectators permitted in the facility.
- Maintaining the stability and safety of skating surfaces.
- (f) Each participant in roller skating and skateboarding activities, including roller skaters, skateboarders, assistants, and spectators, is deemed to have read and understood the warning notice required pursuant to subsection (c)."