It should come as no surprise that skateboard vs. car accidents result in serious injuries to the skateboarder. Like pedestrians, skaters are just as vulnerable against cars. However unlike pedestrian accidents, skateboarders are likely to be found at fault for their collisions due to unfair, negative stereotypes, failing to follow safety requirements, and violating specific laws that outlaw skateboarding on public streets and sidewalks. Most of the cases our San Francisco Skateboard Accident Lawyers have handled, were cases where the skateboarder was initially found to be at fault, but later was still able to receive a settlement due to the skill and expertise of one of our experienced Skateboard Accident Attorneys.  

To learn more about specific skateboard state law and San Francisco ordinances, check out the breakdown below… but, if you have been injured in a skateboard accident feel free to give us a call us at (415) 345-4282 or send us an Online Inquiry for a free case evaluation.

Laws For Non-Motorized Skateboards (standard skateboards)

California State law

1. Allows transit boards, public agencies, and local authorities to adopt rules or regulations to restrict, or specify the conditions for, the use of skateboards on public property under the jurisdiction of that agency. (CA Vehicle Code §21113 and §21967. CA Penal Code §640 sets maximum allowable fines for violation of these restrictions at $250/violation). MJQLAW Note: CA defers to local cities and counties preference for skateboarding laws; SF ok with skateboarding with certain restrictions.

2. Prohibits motorized skateboards on streets, sidewalks, “or any other part of a highway or on any bikeway, bicycle path or trail, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail.” MJQLAW Note: electric skateboards are ok; see below.

3. Requires skateboarders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet on any street, bikeway, or other public bicycle path or trail and establishes a fine of $25/violation (CA Vehicle Code §21212. Also applies to roller and in-line skates, bicycles, and non-motorized scooters). MJQLAW Note: Minors riding skateboards must wear helmets. Adults can ride without a helmet, but failing to wear a helmet can still be held against you in a personal injury case.

4. Requires riders wear a helmet, kneepads, and elbow pads at designated skate parks. (CA Health and Safety Code §115800)

San Francisco City and County (CCSF) Laws

a) Prohibits skateboarding on any city street at any time, on any sidewalk in any business district at any time, and on any non-business district sidewalk commencing 30 minutes after sunset and ending 30 minutes before sunrise (Traffic Code, Section 100). MJQLAW Note: Basically, you cannot ride a non-motorized skateboard at night.

b) Prohibits skateboarding “in or about any public transit station (including an outdoor high-level boarding platform), streetcar, cable car, motor coach, trolley coach or other public transit vehicle, including, but not limited to, those stations or vehicles operated by the Bay Area Rapid Transit District” (Traffic Code, Section 128). MJQLAW Note: You can’t skate near BART, MUNI, etc. stations.

c) Prohibits skateboarding in Yerba Buena Gardens, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Arboretum, Conservatory Valley, where it is posted as prohibited, and in South Beach Park or Rincon Park unless otherwise permitted (Park Code Sections 3.05 and 11.02 and Port Code Sections 2.4 and 7.2). MJQLAW Note: You cannot ever skate at these SF locations.

d) Requires skateboarders at skating facilities owned or operated by the City and County to wear helmets, kneepads, and elbow pads (Park Code Section 4.17).

Motorized/Electric Skateboards Laws

Motorized are prohibited on streets, sidewalks, “or any other part of a highway or on any bikeway, bicycle path or trail, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail.” CA Vehicle Code §21968. HOWEVER, electric skateboards ARE NOT considered to be motorized skateboards. Electric skateboards are legal to ride as long as you follow the laws related to them. Full Text: AB-604 Law. MJQLAW Note: Electric skateboards are ok with certain restrictions, but motorized skateboards are never ok. 

What is an Electric Skateboard?

Definition: any wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood upon while riding that is no longer than 5 feet and no wider than 18 inches. Electric propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts and a maximum speed of 20mph on a flat, paved surface. CA Vehicle Code §313.5. MJQLAW Note: electric skateboards are electric powered (not gas) and can’t be capable of going more than 20mph.

Age Requirement to Ride Electric Skateboard: 16 years old + CA Vehicle Code §21291

Safety Requirements For Riding Electric Skateboard:

  • Must wear bicycle helmet. CA Vehicle Code §21291
  • If riding at night, you electric skateboard must have white light in front, red reflector, and a white or yellow on each side. CA Vehicle Code §21293
  • If riding at night, you must wear the following lights attached to their person: white light on front side, red reflector on rear, and white or yellow reflectors on each side. CA Vehicle Code §21293

Street Riding Restriction: Can only be operated on sidewalks, paths, trails, and roads with a speed limit of 35mph or less. CA Vehicle Code §21294. MJQLAW Note: You cannot ride your electric skateboard on  a street that has a posted speed limit of more than 35mph.

Speed Limit for Electric Skateboards: They can only operate an electric skateboard up to 15mph on highway, bikeway, or other public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail. CA Vehicle Code §21294. MJQLAW Note: This means that if your electric skateboard is capable of going 20mph (max allowed capability) you cannot go as fast as your board allows.

Comparative Fault & Getting You A Fair Settlement

CA is a comparative fault state, meaning that responsibility for an injured skateboarder can be divided up between multiple parties including the skateboarder. Thus, even though a skateboarder may have been found to be riding in a restricted area, failed to wear a helmet, and/or failed to follow other safety regulations, they are still entitled to compensation for their injuries.

Regardless of how much a skateboarder may have contributed to his injuries, vehicle drivers still must abide by traffic rules and regulations. This includes: driving the appropriate speed, driving in the proper lane, making legal turns, etc.

Therefore, we find that even when our skateboard clients have been found to be in violation of the CA or CCSF laws and regulations pertaining to skateboards and electric skateboards, we are still able to obtain fair compensation for them. Sure, it can be a tough, uphill battle, but we are up to the challenge and have successfully represented many injured skaters. If you have been injured in a skateboard accident call us at (415) 345-4282 or send us an Online Inquiry so we can talk about how we can help.

San Francisco Skateboard Accident Lawyer

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