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Skateboard rules vary from town to town
Dear Street Smarts, Q: Is it legal to ride a skateboard on the street like a bike? On my commute, I see a father on a skateboard accompanying his child -- who's riding a bike. Sometimes, the dad rides in the road to go around parked cars, etc. Thanks, Janine Roeth, vie email A: That depends on where the dad is skateboarding. Each local jurisdiction can create their own rules about where skateboarders, which are considered pedestrians in the eyes of the law, can ride. That includes possible prohibitions on roadways, sidewalks and highways, according to California Vehicle Code section 21967. For example, Capitola is well-known for its skateboarding rules. "They may be 'in transport' -- or moving -- along the right side of the roadway and must obey traffic signals, such as stop signs, red lights, etc," explained Sgt. Matt Eller of the Capitola Police Department. "Skateboarders must not impede roadway traffic or interfere with pedestrians on foot." Eller provided the official language of the city's municipal code, section 12.52.030 on Roadway Regulations below: "Pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 21967, the following rules and regulations apply to riding or propelling of skateboards in roadways. Skateboarders must: A. Stop at all stop signs and red lights; B. Yield to all vehicles at yield signs; C. Yield to pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks; D. Not impede traffic or interfere with the flow of vehicular traffic; E. Yield to approaching vehicles when entering any roadway; F. Not be towed by a motor vehicle of any speed or a bicycle at any unsafe speed; G. Yield bicycle lanes to bicycles and not use bicycle lanes in any way contrary to the free and open use of those lanes by bicyclists; H. Not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and travel into the path of a vehicle, which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard; I. Proceed with due care and at a safe speed when skateboarding. (Ord. 960 § 2, 2011; Ord. 864 § 2, 2004)." Meanwhile, the CHP's Bradley Sadek cited California vehicle code section 21956 (a), which "regulates the actions of pedestrians -- and skateboarders." This section provides that pedestrians must travel "close to the left edge" of the road when on a roadway outside of a business or residence district. When in doubt about skateboard rules in your area, stop a traffic officer and have a conversation. They'll be glad you asked.
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