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Skateboard Bans: The “Get Off My Lawn” of Transportation Policies

11:09 AM EDT on July 1, 2014

The municipal skateboard ban is the "get off my lawn" of transportation policies.

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay
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Outright prohibitions of this healthy, cheap, and environmentally friendly form of transportation are common. These laws -- enacted in towns including Lakewood, Ohio, and Atlanta, Georgia -- seem based at least in part on stereotypes applied to people who skateboard, particularly boys and young men. For all that cyclists and pedestrians have to deal with, skateboarding is arguably the most marginalized mode of active transportation.

Network blog Decatur Metro says that's the case in this relatively progressive, inner-ring suburb of Atlanta. An ordinance passed in 2010 not only bans skateboarding but in-line skating and roller skating -- yes, roller skating.

Decatur Metro explains:

Back in 2010, the Decatur City Commission outlawed riding skateboards, kick scooters, rollerskates/blades in downtown Decatur after receiving resident complaints “about skateboarders who disregard pedestrians and cause unsafe conditions on crowded sidewalks and in crowded public areas,” along with damage that was done to the Celebration Statue on the MARTA plaza.

And while the damage to public and private property is inexcusable, the ordinance went far beyond that, making it illegal to ride any of these vehicles in the downtown “pedestrian zone,” which is basically most of downtown Decatur.

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