is skateboarding a crime? The short answer for this is “No” as long as you follow the things that have been told in this article.
Skateboarding is a thrilling sport that allows its players to stay fit and entertain others by showing their amazing feats. Due to its fun nature, this sport is popular globally and has also entered the Olympics.
There is a common misconception that skateboarding is a crime. Well, the reality is skateboarding itself is not a criminal act. If you are skateboarding at a proper place then it’s ok. You are not committing an offense. The only difference is skateboarding is not allowed in most places. If you perform skateboarding at these places then you may be charged with penalties.
Hence, to make this concept clear, people started efforts to spread the message that skateboarding is not a crime.
Here we have discussed some situations when your skateboarding can become a crime. Before that let’s have a quick history review, who raises the voice first against the association of crime with skateboarding.
‘Skateboarding Is Not A Crime’ Slogan History
Was skateboarding illegal? To know the answer, have a quick view of the history of crime associated with skateboarding.
As street skating emerged, the desire to explore new lands and push boundaries occasionally was seen with narrow and conservative thoughts by society.
Especially in urban areas, it becomes impossible for skating enthusiasts to skate and practice intricate skating feats in densely populated and urban areas.
Therefore, the complaints against skating started to gather which led to the control and federal suppression against skateboarding. It became impossible to skate in the 1980s and 1990s. skaters had to face bans, penalties, and curfews from the government. They were not allowed to skate even in San Francisco, San Diego, and Santa Cruz which are the spiritual home of skateboarding. Then, these restrictions outgrow these places and move towards New York, Chicago, Denver, Portland, and other major cities.
The worst scenario arises when the Washington Post declared skateboarding as a ‘Destructive Activity’, due to the damages skateboarding caused to properties and people.
Skateboards were banned as no-go zones were established, and skating on sidewalks was also prohibited.
Many skaters enthusiasts realized that skateboarding is getting associated with crime, so they raised their voices against it. They protested against the association of crime with skateboarding. The exact person or date cannot be listed when and who was the pioneer of this concept.
However, when the skateboard companies started to get affected by this negative image of skateboarding, they raised their voice. In 1997, the NHS, INC. organization that manufactures and distributes many skateboard brands, including Santa Cruz, Independent Trucks, Ricta Wheels, and Bronson Speed Co. bearings, among others raised the official slogan ‘Skateboarding is not a crime”.
It was also aided when ‘Tony Hawk’ featured famous video games and created music videos for skating which developed a new enthusiasm in skaters to stand for their skating right.
After the NHC, INC trademarked the slogan “Skateboarding is not a Crime”, it became popular. Now skaters are wearing T-shirts, writing on their boards, spreading messages on the internet, and adopting various other methods to spread awareness. This message helps them to skate confidently and defend their sport in front of those who stand against it.
When Skateboarding Becomes A Crime?
Skateboarding can become illegal in some situations which are listed below.
1. Skating At an Unauthoritative Place
Do many people ponder that is skateboarding on public property against the law? Well, the answer is if you don’t take permission then yes, it is illegal. The main cause for disliking skateboarding arises when people started to skate in unauthoritative places, without the consent of their owners. Undoubtedly, skating provides a fun but this sport can be noisy for others. Moreover, the trails due to sliding or rails may cause damage to property. This damage and skating without permission developed a sense of rage towards skating in many people.
Furthermore, at various locations, if you enter someone’s garage or lawn without permission then it’s totally illegal and you may be charged with hefty penalties. Therefore, to avoid such scenarios, it’s better to skate only at skateparks or in your own backyard. You can ask your neighbor to let you skate if there is no skatepark nearby, but their backyard is great for skating. If you fail then streets are there for you to commute at least.
In addition, you can also use parking areas when they are empty to pursue your skating passion. Additionally, make a circle of skating enthusiasts and collect charity to make a skating park in your neighborhood.
2. Violating Rules And Regulations
Skating also has some rules and regulations which vary from location to location. In some areas, there is no hard and fast rule for skating. While in others, you have to follow certain rules. For instance, in the area where I reside, it is not allowed to skate on streets but in bike lanes only. Moreover, there are also some areas where skating on footpaths or outside the skating park is not allowed.
Furthermore, if skating accidents happen in some areas then the government forbids skating stunts in those areas. If you don’t comply with these rules then you will definitely face penalties.
Moreover, there are also such skateparks where you need to buy a ticket for skating. If you skate without ticketing then penalties are fined to the skaters.
In addition, there are also rules in some areas for kids. Younger kids under the age of 4 are not allowed to skate due to safety concerns. There are also rules for safety gear at some places. If you don’t wear safety gear then you are not allowed to do skating at all. It’s better to follow these rules and avoid any inconvenience during skating.
Read more about: The 14 Most Influential Skateboarders of all time
3. Violating Curfews
As previously noted, many places have varied restrictions, and some have curfew rules. Some localities enforce curfew regulations so rigorously that if you play outside of the permitted hours, you may face harsh penalties or be arrested. Skate only during the permitted hours on the streets or at skating parks. The reason for this is that there may be a school or hospital in that vicinity. During traffic times, owing to the risk of an accident, curfew laws are placed on all skaters.
Furthermore, there is a curfew at 9:00 pm for children under the age of 16. They are not allowed to skate during the night. If they maneuver while holding a skateboard late at night, they may be halted by security officers. Therefore, it’s preferable to skate only in the daylight and during the allowed hours.
4. Damage to Property
Vandalism is defined as purposeful damage, destruction, or any harm to anyone’s property. As skateboarding is a thrilling sport, it’s evident that if you don’t play in a proper place then you will definitely break or damage anything with your wheels or trucks. No matter how hard you try to save things, they will definitely get ruined.
When you’re doing a slappy grinding on a recently painted pavement, indeed the part of the paint will come off. You may ultimately crack up the tracks if you do rough skating. This shows that you might not intentionally destroy the property, others, especially those who may report you to the police, may interpret it differently. Therefore, the skating haters get a chance to call skaters vandals.
Related Article: Is Skateboarding Hard to Learn?
5. Skating In Forbidden Area
Another circumstance when skating gets turned into a criminal offense is when skaters perform skating in restricted areas. These restricted areas have special signboards such as
So, if you intentionally skate in such areas then you may be charged with hefty fines.
Skateboarding is not a criminal sport itself. But, if you don’t follow the rules i.e. skating in restricted areas or skating on someone else’s property without the owner’s consent then this sport can become a crime. That’s why it’s better to compromise on your skating thrills and skate in some safe place instead of hopping on your neighbor’s fence. You can also get membership in skating parks or make efforts to develop a skating park in your colony.