At the beginning of the summer, skateboarding was very nearly banned on streets in the west hills popular among longboarders. As promoters of active transportation and safe streets, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance had serious concerns about such a law and its potential to set a precedent for restricting activities in certain areas.
After hearing our concerns, Commissioner Randy Leonard postponed the City Council vote (originally scheduled for earlier this summer) until today. In the interim, a safety campaign was launched and agreement was reached on a revised skateboard ordinance.
The compromise skateboard ordinance approved by City Council today removes the old $25 cap on fines for traffic violations on scooters, skateboards, rollerblades and rollerskates. People using those devices are required to follow the same traffic laws as those riding bikes and the fine structure is now similar, too.
That means that when our police stop skateboarders for, say running a stop sign, they’ll have to pay a fine closer to that which someone in a car or on a bike would pay — $260. The new ordinance also bans skateboarding on those popular west hills routes but only at night (10pm – 7am).
Restricting active transportation in certain neighborhoods sets a bad precedent. That said, the BTA recognizes that the ordinance approved today is far better than some of the initial proposals discussed over the last few months.
By communicating with Commissioner Leonard’s office and the Portland Police Bureau, and with the help of Charley Gee of Swanson, Thomas, Coon, and Newton, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance helped ensure that the ordinance approved today was more fair and well thought out.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is grateful to the Portland Police, Portland Parks and Recreation, PBOT, Arlington Heights NA, and skateboarding representatives Billy Meiners and JP Rowan for their great work on this issue. Most of all, we are grateful to Commissioner Leonard’s office for being willing to let these parties work towards the compromise reached today.