Please do not treat this blog post as 100% accurate for every location in the US or the World. Each state and city may have unique laws that apply to skateboards. After you read this post, look up the local laws for skateboarding in your city, town, or county. Laws and guidelines change frequently and we want you to stay informed (and staying riding your board!).
Skateboarding brings freedom for thousands of people everyday. They are free to explore the world as they want, how they want. Whether that’s taking an electric board, longboard, or skateboard, you have freedom to ride.
There are some basic rules that come with that freedom. You have a responsibility just like you have if you’re driving a car: take care of yourself and take care of others. How can you follow skateboarding rules and have a great time? Let’s go over the rules.
#1 Keep Yourself Safe
#2 Keep Others Safe
#3 If You Break It, You Buy It
On top of some general rules, there are some laws you should be aware of.
General Skateboarding Laws
There are very few universal laws about skateboarding in North America. Each state and city can have different laws, bylaws, and guidelines for skateboards. It is a good idea to check on the individual state and city before you go riding. The last thing you want to go is get a ticket while riding your skateboard. Municode is a great site to check on any laws in your city. Simply select your state and city on the map and search the code for “skateboard” to find guidelines for you and your friends.
Can I ride in the street?
In general, no. Skateboarding in the street is usually not legal. On busy streets, it’s also not safe and a bad idea. Some cities do recommend that skateboards ride in the bike lane on the street. If that is the case, learn to use proper signaling when turning, be aware of other riders or bikers in front of and behind you, wear certified protective equipment, and watch out for cars who may not see you. The goal when riding is always to make it home. Some cities do prohibit the use of bike lane too.
Will anyone be bothered if you skateboard in a neighborhood with very little car traffic? Probably not. You can be safe while riding in the street outside your house by always using caution and wearing proper safety equipment.
Can I legally ride on the sidewalk?
Yes! In most places. Please check with your local municipality because cities can have different regulations for the busy areas. We gathered some links to skateboarding laws in popular cities to skate in so you can get good idea of regulations.
- Skateboard Guidelines in New York City, NY
- Skate Laws in Los Angeles, CA
- Tampa, FL’s Skateboard & Roller Skate Regulations
You are treated as a pedestrian in most US states when you are on a skateboard. That means that you have similar rights to pedestrians. You do not need a special license to ride your skateboard on the sidewalk and you should view it as legal unless otherwise posted. You can safely ride your skateboard on the sidewalk as long as you yield to other pedestrians. You are no different than a runner. Try not to run into your neighbors!
Why should you check your local city’s rules? They tend to have specific directions for the busiest parts of the city where there are lots of walking pedestrians. As noted above, each city has specific areas that are not able to be skated in.
Riding your skateboard on the sidewalk is sometimes more work than it’s worth. Hitting breaks in the concrete slabs or having to roll over uprooted sidewalk is not fun. That is why most skateboarders prefer to ride in the street when it’s safe to do so.
Who has priority, a bike, a runner, or a skateboarder?
Skateboarding inevitably takes you to places where you will come across bikes, other skateboards, and plenty of pedestrians. As long as you follow the local laws about where you ride your skateboard, like we mentioned above, you do not need to consider whether or not you need to move over for bikes or pedestrians. It will likely be posted if you need to yield to pedestrians.
You can follow some basic rules to make sure that you ride safely among bikers and pedestrians. The first guideline is to always yield to the person traveling in front of you. This is true even if you are traveling much faster than the person in front of you: you need to yield to that person or group of people. This is much like the rules of the road when driving your car.
Can I ride on a private road or private land?
It’s a good idea to know if you are skating or private or public property. Some public land can restrict skateboarding and biking in pedestrian areas. However, this is only a small part of public walkways. Private land is another issue.
You break the law by skating on land that you don’t own. Instead, try to talk to the land owner to see if you and your friends can skate on their property. They may say no at first but they will surely appreciate you asking. You will find some property owners very accommodating when you approach them with respect.
In addition to rules and laws, you should really know skateboarding etiquette.
What is skateboarding etiquette? It’s the unwritten rules of how you treat each other while riding. Our etiquette toward one another dictates the vibe within our community. It starts with mutual respect. If you want to get your turn on a run, you have to respect each other and the craft.
Respect the craft? What does that mean?
Skateboarding is fun because it’s simple: it’s just you, the board, some safety gear, and the elements around you. Sometimes that means it’s a skateboard park or just an empty space. If you don’t take care of your gear, keeping your board in good shape or wearing your safety gear properly, you can get hurt really bad. Now, skateboarding injury statistics tell us that it’s a very safe sport, especially with proper safety gear, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt.
It’s important to respect how challenging the sport is. Skateboarding is not easy to master. It’s fun because you can easily learn how to push and learn how to stop, but it’s hard to learn tricks and level up so that you can take on ramps and other volumes. You have to be in good shape.
It’s also important to respect the things that you’re skateboarding around. You may think that hopping over a volume is going to be easy. It’s always easy until you land on your back and get the wind knocked out of you. Respect the difficulty and concentrate on doing things right. It’ll help you get better and lower your risk of injury.