Please be advised that the following topic is for informational purposes only and not a legal matter currently handled by our firm. If you need further assistance regarding this particular topic, you can contact your local Bar Association for a referral to an attorney who may be able to address your inquiry in more detail.
For some, skateboarding isn’t just a fun recreational activity; it is also used as a mode of transportation. And in California, we see a lot of people riding around on skateboards.
Unfortunately, this means there also tends to be a high number of skateboard accidents in California, and the injuries that result can be severe and even devastating. Luckily, as with any type of accident, injured victims do have a right to seek compensation if they were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.
And as skateboarding is not illegal in California, so long as the rider obeyed California skateboarding laws, they can file a personal injury claim against the person who hit them.
If you are injured while skateboarding in California and have any questions or concerns about filing a claim, our San Francisco Traffic Accident Lawyers can assist you. We have handled a wide range of personal injury cases, including those involving skateboard accidents.
California Skateboarding Laws
In California, each city or county is allowed to adopt its own skateboarding rules and regulations. However, there are still some statewide laws listed according to various California legislative codes.
California skateboard laws are as follows:
- All skateboarders under the age of 18 must wear a skateboard helmet on any street, bikeway, or public path or trail. Failure to do so may result in a $25 fine.
- All riders must wear a helmet, kneepads, and elbow pads at designated skate parks.
- Motorized skateboards are prohibited on streets, sidewalks, highways, or any path or trail.
San Francisco’s skateboard laws:
- Skateboarding is prohibited on the street or sidewalk in any business district at any time.
- In a non-business district, skateboarding is prohibited at night (30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise).
- Skateboarding is prohibited in any public transit station, streetcar, cable car, motor coach, trolley, or another public transit vehicle.
- Skateboarding is prohibited specifically at Yerba Buena Gardens, the Arboretum, the Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory Valley, South Beach Park, and Rincon Park unless otherwise permitted.
- Skateboarders must wear a helmet, kneepads, and elbow pads at any skate facility owned and operated by the City and County.
California Electric Skateboard Laws:
Though motorized skateboards are prohibited, electric skateboards are not considered the same as motorized skateboards. Thus, they have separate rules.
An electric skateboard is considered any wheeled device with a floorboard designed for standing that is no longer than five feet and no wider than 18 inches. The propulsion system must average less than 1,000 watts and have a speed of no more than 20 mph on flat, paved surfaces.
Additional electric skateboard rules are as follows:
- Riders must be at least 16 years of age
- Riders must wear a helmet
- If riding at night, you must have a white light in front, a red reflector in the rear, and white/yellow lights on each side of the skateboard.
- If the above lights are not attached to the skateboard, they can instead be attached to the rider.
- Riding is prohibited on sidewalks, paths, trails, and roads with a speed limit of more than 35 mph.
- Riders must not surpass 15 mph on highways, bike paths, sidewalks, or trails.
Skateboarding Accidents in California
There is any number of situations where a skateboarder can get into an accident, but they most often occur when there is a conflict between the skateboarder and another vehicle on the road, including those driving cars, trucks, scooters, and any other type of motorized vehicle.
Specific causes of skateboard accidents can include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Blind spots
- T-bone and turning collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Collisions caused by distraction or intoxication
Unfortunately, when a skateboarder gets into an accident with a larger vehicle, the injuries can be quite severe and even fatal. Beyond a helmet, skateboarders have little protection for their bodies from impact, so if they are hit, especially at high speed, they can sustain devastating injuries.
Liability for Skateboarding Accidents
If a skateboarder was found to have been disobeying any laws when they were injured in an accident, they will likely not be eligible to file a claim against the person who hit them. In this case, they would have to pay for their own medical bills using their health insurance or pay out of pocket.
However, just as pedestrians have right of way laws that protect them, so do skateboarders. So if another driver disobeys those laws, the injured skateboarder would likely have the right to file a personal injury claim against them to recover compensation.
Liable parties can also include other parties besides drivers, depending on where and how the accident occurred. Overall, all potentially liable parties in a skateboarding accident can include:
- The driver of a vehicle
- A property owner, such as a skate park owner
- A government agency, such as those in charge of maintaining roads and sidewalks
- The skateboard manufacturer is the accident occurred due to a defect
Keep in mind that California is a comparative fault state. So it is also possible for the skateboarder to share in the liability. In this case, the settlement they are awarded would be reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, if a car driver was found to be 90% at fault, but the skateboarder was 10% at fault, the compensation would be reduced by 10%.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
As a whole, skateboarding accident cases can be tricky. Even if a driver was clearly at fault, their insurance company may try to deny fault or place the blame on the skateboarder. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.
An attorney can fight for the skateboarder’s rights, help prove who was at fault by providing evidence, and can ensure the insurance company awards the full and fair amount of compensation deserved.
At Sally Morin, we truly care about the people of California. We handle many areas of the law, including those involving California skateboarding laws, and know what it takes to ensure our clients walk away with the settlement they deserve.
Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.