Our friends down South are doing it right.
Most of you have somewhat of an idea of what has gone down over the last few months and some of you might not have a clue. We decided to make a big post to go over all the things that have changed and the things that have stayed the same for skateboarders in the City of Portland. Over the last year members of the skateboard community have been attending meetings to discuss the issue of increased skateboarder traffic in the Arlington Heights Neighborhood, or Zoobomb as it is commonly referred to. The biggest concerns the residents have is safety and livability. They are worried that they might hit (or be hit by) a skateboarder while commuting in their neighborhood and the sound of skateboards is a nuisance to some residents. This wasn’t a big problem until the last few years, as the number of downhill skateboarders has increased drastically and so has the traffic in their neighborhood.
Originally they proposed an outright skateboard-ban in the neighborhood, which was strongly opposed by the skateboard community and also opposed by other city departments. After many meetings with various residents, city departments (Transportation, Criminal Prevention, Parks and Rec., Police Bureau, etc…) and concerned citizens, we came to a happy medium. The Portland City Code that relates to skateboarding was updated/altered to reflect these changes and here is a quick run down of what it now entails:
No skating after 10pm (*on specific roads)
- Due to visibility and the sound levels created by skateboards, we determined that no skating after 10pm on specific roads would be fair. As much as we’d like to think we can be quiet and stealthy, skateboards do create an amount of sound that is past the level allowed in a residential neighborhood after 10pm. If a skateboarder is on one of these roads from the hours of 10pm-7am they will receive a $115 fine.
*The roads include the following: 1. SW Fairview Boulevard between SW Knights Boulevard and SW Kingston Avenue; 2. SW Kingston Avenue between SW Tichner Drive and the Washington Park entrance; 3. SW Tichner Drive between SW Kingston Avenue and SW Marconi Avenue; 4. SW Marconi Avenue; 5. SW Park Place between SW Marconi Avenue and SW Wright Avenue; 6. SW Lafayette Place; 7. SW Hampshire Street between SW Lafayette Place and SW Champlain Drive; 8. SW Champlain Drive between SW Hampshire Street and SW Rutland Terrace; 9. SW Rutland Terrace; and 10. West Burnside Street from Skyline Boulevard to SW Vista Avenue.
(For those of you who are unfamiliar with the street names, this covers all the Zoobomb routes)
Obey all traffic laws
- This means no speeding, blowing stop signs, going in the on-coming lane, making illegal passes, skating in large groups, etc… Basically, if you wouldn’t do it in a car, don’t do it on your skateboard. Before, skateboarders were in a grey-area legally and the fines related to traffic violations were minimal ($25 or so) but now that has been changed so that skateboards are the same a bicycles; which means the fines have been increased. So if you blow a stop sign you can get a $250+ fine.
If you are under the age of 16 you must wear a helmet
- Helmets are a great idea which is why we encourage everybody to wear them. But legally, you are required to wear one when you are 16 and under or you get a $25 ticket (just like bikes).
If you are going under the speed limit you must yield the right-of-way to vehicles approaching from the rear.
- If you are holding up traffic move to the side of the road or shoulder and let them go around you. There is no point in upsetting the other road users behind you by going really slow and taking up the whole lane. Share the road (or get a $115 fine).
- Don’t grab onto cars and don’t let people grab onto your car. It’s dumb and you can get a $115 fine.
Wear lights when skating at night or early morning (times of limited visibility)
- You need a white light in from (visible up to 500ft.) and a red light or red reflective material in back (also visible up to 600ft.). And just like cyclist, you can get a $115 fine for not having proper lights at night.
No skating on the sidewalks in downtown Portland and no skating on sidewalks/streets in the bus mall and park blocks
- And like most of the other aspects of the ordinance there is a $115 fine attached with this one.
- This isn’t part of the new city code but I felt I should talk about this a little. One of the issues residents of Arlington Heights have is the sound created by slide gloves. In short, some people don’t like it. It is legal to use slide gloves from the hours of 7am-10pm, but that doesn’t mean you should drag your hand all the time and make more noise than is necessary. Use your gloves sparingly or try other methods for controlling your speed such as carving (in your lane), foot braking or (if you are skilled enough) stand up slides. Another thing skaters should refrain from doing is clapping their pucks. For the most part, it is pointless. I know skaters see it as a way to “warn” people and on-coming traffic that you are coming down the hill, but there should be no reason to “warn” anybody. If you skate safely and legally then you shouldn’t have to notify other road users of your presence. Keep in mind that Arlington Heights is a residential neighborhood which means people live there. Be respectful and try to have as little impact on the neighborhood as possible while you are commuting on your skateboard. Also, remember to smile and wave
Some of you may view this a buzz kill and probably aren’t too stoked on the new version of the city code. But in reality, something like this is necessary to maintain our rights and to continue to build a positive skateboard community for the City of Portland. While many cities throughout the U.S. are banning skateboarding, Portland is working hand-in-hand with skaters to figure out ways to allow us to do our thing while maintaining good relations with our fellow Portlanders. The best thing we can do is respect the laws that are in place and encourage others to do so as well. Many skaters have put in numerous hours to keep something like a skateboard-ban from happening. As a skater, you need to do your part and be a positive member of the community. If you want to thank us for all the work we have done, don’t be a knucklehead and think you can get away with breaking the law! Follow the rules of road and tell your friends to do the same.
Thanks for all the people who made videos! Check out all the submissions after the jump.
1. Video must show safe and legal skateboarding. If you are unclear what that means read up on the legalities of skating on the Skate Law page of this website. Here’s a few major topics to focus on: Stop for stop signs, signal at intersections, use lights at night, stay in your lane and wear a helmet. Also, keep in mind that the person filming the video will also be judged on their skateboard techniques.
2. No offensive content in videos. Videos that are uploaded and are deemed offensive will be deleted and removed from the contest.
3. Deadline is August 20th at 1pm. Winner will announced the August, 21st on SkateFriendlyPdx.com and will recieve a new complete skateboard from Landyachtz.
4. Have fun and be creative!