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SKATEBOARD RULES IN THE DOWNTOWN EUGENE AREA

Page history last edited by TheSavage 9 years, 4 months ago

Councilor Clark requested information regarding skateboarding laws and signage in the downtown area.
As requested, we have also reviewed appropriate City of Eugene and the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS)
that apply to riding skateboards in the streets, bike lanes, or on sidewalks.
The Eugene code clarifies most of the questions regarding restrictions for riding a skateboard in the
downtown area. The pertinent section of the Code is provided below:
5.450 Skateboards.
(1) As used in this section, a "skateboard" means a board of any material natural or
synthetic with wheels affixed to the underside, designed to be ridden by a person and
propelled by human power.
(2) No person shall ride a skateboard:
(a) On any sidewalk within the area bounded by the western sidewalk along
Charnelton Street between 8th Avenue and 11th Avenue, the northern sidewalk
along 8th Avenue from Oak Street to Charnelton Street, the eastern sidewalk
along Oak Street between 8th and 11th Avenues, and the southern sidewalk
along 11th Avenue between Oak and Charnelton Streets, or on either side of
Willamette Street between 8th and 7th Avenues, or in the area between the
Eugene Conference Center and the Hult Center.
(b) In any multi-level parking facility within the city.
(c) Within ten feet of any major bus transfer station.
(d) In the portion of a street designated for automobile traffic, except when
crossing a street in a crosswalk or at a right angle.
(e) On Alder Street, including the sidewalks thereof, between and including the
southern sidewalk of East 12th Avenue and the northern sidewalk of East 14th
Avenue, nor on East 13th Avenue, including the sidewalks thereof, between
and including the eastern sidewalk of Pearl Street and the eastern sidewalk of
Kincaid Street.
(3) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a skateboard on the sidewalk if
the person does any of the following:
MEMORANDUM
(a) Rides a skateboard upon a sidewalk where prohibited;
(b) Rides a skateboard upon a sidewalk where not otherwise prohibited and does
not yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk; or
(c) Rides a skateboard on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers or would
be likely to endanger any person or property.
(Section 5.450 added by Ordinance No. 19623, enacted June 26, 1989; amended by Ordinance No.
19693, enacted June 11, 1990; amended by Ordinance No. 20057, enacted August 12, 1996; and
Ordinance No. 20071, enacted November 4, 1996, effective December 4, 1996.)
The Police Department’s traffic enforcement supervisor reviewed both the Eugene Code section 5.450
and the Oregon Revised Statutes to help explain some of the confusion that exists for the public regarding
where skateboards can and cannot be legally ridden. In the Eugene Code 5.450, section 2(d) states that a
skateboard cannot be ridden “In the portion of a street designated for automobile traffic, except when
crossing a street in a crosswalk or at a right angle.” In Oregon, the street designated for automobile traffic
is defined as the area from curb to curb. On streets where a designated bicycle lane is provided, the bike
lane is considered to be part of the street designated for automobile traffic. Since skateboards are not
considered a vehicle by the ORS, they cannot be ridden in the bicycle lanes because only vehicles may be
operated on a street. (Unlike bicycles, skateboards are not defined as a vehicle by the ORS.)
An Oregon Court of Appeals case from 2002 provides further guidance. The appellate court determined
that a “skateboard” is not a vehicle as defined by ORS 801.590 and therefore would be exempt from laws
pertaining to vehicles in the Oregon Revised Statues. This means that a skateboard cannot be legally
ridden on a street or bike lane with the exception of crossing the street. The Police Department traffic
enforcement sergeant indicates that as a general rule the same standards (and related laws) that are applied
to pedestrians would be used when addressing persons riding skateboards in the street or in bike lanes.
Signage
The Public Works Transportation Options staff was contacted regarding signage for skateboarding in the
downtown area. They indicated that stenciled ‘signs’ are printed on the sidewalks at some intersections
that are key points where a skateboarder would be entering the area of downtown or near the University
of Oregon where skateboarding is restricted. Skateboarding on sidewalks has been prohibited in these
two locations due to a higher level of foot traffic and congestion present in these specific locations. The
area is defined in the Eugene Code, sections 5.450 2(a) and 2(e). Over the last two years, the Police
downtown foot patrol officer has identified the need for additional signage and maintenance of existing
stencils to improve public information regarding where skateboarding has been prohibited. The stenciled
signs downtown are fading and several areas of the downtown core currently lack any stenciled signs.
Future consideration could be given to expanding the number of stenciled signs and developing a more
aggressive maintenance schedule.
In summary, skateboards may not be ridden in the streets or in bicycle lanes. Skateboards may be ridden
on sidewalks, except for the two areas described in Eugene Code 5.450, section 2(a) and 2(d), or in an
area where the sidewalk has been closed to pedestrian travel. Currently, signage indicating the areas
where a skateboard may not be ridden consists of stenciled warnings printed on the sidewalks.

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