SACRAMENTO – “The skaters have been speaking and I’ve been listening.”
With those opening comments, Senator Bill Morrow (R-Carlsbad) announced his new legislation designed to provide more complete liability protection for local governments that build and operate public skateboard parks.
“This bill is for the skateboarders,” said Morrow. “Senate Bill 1179 will protect local governments, encourage building of more public skateboard parks, and expand usage of existing parks. The bill will toss out the arbitrary age restrictions in current law, a restriction that excludes a huge percentage of young skateboarders from using public parks.”
The North San Diego County Republican successfully authored legislation in 1996 and 2001 that increased liability protection for publicly owned and operated skateboard parks. Those laws contributed to a broad-based effort to encourage building safe, accessible public parks where skateboarders can congregate and ply their skills. But Morrow said that much more needs to be done.
The senator said, “The earlier bills were important steps. But, quite frankly, they are inadequate to keep up with the growing demand, evolving demographics and other dynamic realities of the skateboarding community. This new measure speaks directly to those problems.”
Existing law provides liability protection to public agencies and public employees when recreational enthusiasts participate in certain popular activities designated as “hazardous recreational activities.” The list of designated activities is contained in Section 831.7 of the California Government Code.
SB 1179 would add skateboarding to that list of activities, granting skateboarding what is termed as “straight HRA status.” The bill would treat skateboarding in public skateparks with the same liability protections already afforded much riskier activities.
“We provide full HRA protection to activities such as skydiving, hang gliding, motor vehicle racing, off-road motorcycling and body contact sports,” said Morrow. “It’s ridiculous and discriminatory to treat skateboarding as if it is more dangerous than jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet.”
The senator concluded, “It’s time we stopped discriminating against skateboarders, marginalizing participants in what has become a dominant cultural activity. The State of California has an interest in encouraging, not discouraging, participation in a creative physical activity at well planned, responsibly designed skateboard parks.”
Spread the word.