Road skateboarding laws.
I am aware that this may be an unpopular subject, however if possible I would like to get some real answers...
Myself and some friends (and many other people I know), all in our 20's-30's, partake in the fast growing sport of downhill skateboarding. We do everything we can to be as safe as possible, from wearing leathers and fullface helmets to having spotters on any corners that we cannot see from the top of the run to advise us when it is safe to go. We get very mixed reactions from the public, with some people cheering us on and standing around to watch/ask questions and other people getting very angry that we are there. Just yesterday we were doing around 30mph in a 30mph limit area and one man accelerated to catch up to us then slammed on his horn whilst trying to overtake us going over a bridge. If there were a car coming the other way, there is no way he would have seen it and he would have been stuck in the wrong lane.
Before anyone says that we have no brakes, we regularly practice something called shutdown slides where we put our hand on the road and turn the board sideways. This gives us the ability to stop in around the same distance as a car.
That is a brief intriduction to what we do, but what I am really trying to find out is whether anyone knows where I can find specific laws regarding our sport. We have regularly had the police called on us, however they all leave after a quick chat when they realise that we are not doing anything illegal.
The reason that I am trying to find the laws is that a man started screaming at us yesterday saying that we were going to be arrested because we were skating on a public highway and was name dropping all the senior police that he supposedly knew. I would like to be able to print off the laws so that I can show them to people like this, as well as trying to stay within their limits.
From a purely personal point of view I might tend to consider that sort of behaviour as downright irresponsible, reprehensible and a few other adjectives that would get me in trouble if I used them on this forum, BUT as far as I know (and I'm pretty certain about this) there is no such offence as "skating on a public highway".
As there is no such offence, it follows that there is nothing that says there is no such offence - if you see what I mean, there isn't a list of what isn't an offence! (believe it or not, there could be more of a problem if you were on a pedal cycle - there is an obscure offence of "furious bicycling"!!).
However, quite apart from local by-laws that might exist prohibiting such activities, anyone travelling at speed on a skateboard could find themselves in a very deep hole regarding any civil claim resulting from, say, a collision with someone/something - and there's probably no insurance cover either?
I dare say that if someone annoyed the police enough, an enterprising constable could try to make a public order offence stick, but if anyone started shouting at me that they knew the chief constable (or his wife while he was out) I would tell him to go forth and multiply!
Aye! there might not be any national law covering this, but there may be a local by-law (passed by the local council) banning it?
Personally, I think its great, and must be exhilarating to say the least, and if I was "a few" years younger, I might have a go myself
(I was pretty good as a street roller skater way back in my misspent youth)
It's never too late to start, I know several guys in their 50s and even one or two in their 60s still racing (although predominantly slalom).
Originally Posted by smudger
I have emailed the local council at our main spots about the bylaws as I can't find them listed anywhere. Hopefully they will be able to give me a definitive answer.
Watcher, we really aren't looking to make enemies. Almost every person that I know that does longboarding is educated to at least degree level and have no intention of dying/getting seriously injured anytime soon. That is why we try and stay within the law at all times and use common sense/as many precautions as we realistically can. The only times I have ever fallen off with cars around is when those cars have taken a dislike to us and done something stupid to cause us to fall (re: the guy on the bridge). I can understand why cars don't like us but other than winning people round one at a time there is not much we can do. One thing you should know is that your average longboarder has none of the attitude of the stereotypical street skater. We are not looking to cause trouble, or do damage to anything. We just want to enjoy gravity in all it's glory.
Last edited by JackRabbit; 17-08-10 at 00:45.