Skateboards and roller skates are transportation and entertainment to some, but to others they are a nuisance and a danger.
Except for bicycles, skateboards are the most popular form of transportation among young people. Skateboarding has also become a trend and a popular form of recreation. A ramp for the handicapped, a large parking lot or a sloped sidewalk is attractive turf to a skateboard user.And skateboarders often travel in groups down roads and sidewalks, creating a hazard for cars and pedestrians. Many businesses and residents have complained about near-accidents involving skateboards.
Because of the increased use of skateboards near public facilities and in downtown areas, three Utah County cities have recently passed ordinances banning skateboarding and roller skating in certain locations and during certain times. Another city has drafted an ordinance but has not yet adopted it. Most ordinances are tied to bicycle riding ordinances.
Payson adopted an ordinance in October because city officials said skateboarding had become so prevalent in areas used by pedestrians that it had become hazardous. City officials said the ordinance is necessary to protect pedestrians, property owners and those using skateboards.
In Payson, it is now unlawful to use skateboards or roller skates on public streets, sidewalks and properties beginning one-half hour after dark or in areas where those activities are prohibited. Skateboarding is banned in all municipal parks, athletic fields, the golf course and the Payson City Complex.
Springville adopted an ordinance last week because of the large number of skateboarders in the downtown business district. A local grocery store has complained about having as many as 20 people riding skateboards in its parking lot on a given Friday or Saturday night.
City officials also said the city has many roads that are not safe for skateboard use. Springville's ordinance bans skateboards on roads with a 6 percent grade or more and on roads where the volume, speed or width of the road makes skateboarding unsafe.
Skateboard users are considered pedestrians and are subject to all duties and rights of a pedestrians.When on sidewalks, skateboard users are to yield to other pedestrians. Skateboards are banned in all commercial zones. Closed areas will be posted bycity officials.
Provo passed an ordinance more than a year ago banning skateboarding near the city library because of extensive use of the building's ramps and sidewalks. It is also unlawful to ride a skateboard in Provo one-half hour after dark. However, skateboarding is not banned in the downtown district.
Pleasant Grove's city attorney has drafted an ordinance banning skateboarding near the city hall but the ordinance has not yet been presented to the City Council. Charmaine Child, city recorder, said the parking lots and sidewalks near the city hall and library are popular among skateboard users. She said there have been several near-accidents involving cars in the parking lots and said city officials fear an accident involving a skateboard.
"If it is easy for cars to almost hit each other, then it would be easy for a car to hit a child," Child said.
Orem, American Fork and Spanish Fork do not have skateboard ordinances and officials say none are being discussed. Officials in those cities said they have received some complaints about skateboard use but not enough to merit an ordinance.
Alpine, Provo and Nebo school districts also have no skateboard policies, though most schools have policies banning skateboard use on school grounds during school hours.
In Payson and Provo violation of the skateboard ordinance is a class B misdemeanor. However, in most cases offenders will receive a warning or a $25 fine. Violation of Springville's ordinance is punishable by a $25 fine.