Vancouver City Council
CITY OF VANCOUVER
February 25, 2005
CC File No.:
March 15, 2005
Vancouver City Council
General Manager of Engineering Services
Skateboard, In-Line Skate and Push Scooter By-law - Report Back
It is recommended that Council receive this status report for information.
Street and Traffic BY-LAW 77 AND 77A - RIDING, COASTING AND SLIDING ON STREETS
The purpose of this document is to report back to Council on the consequences of eliminating By-laws regulating skateboards, in-line skates and push scooters.
In the 1990's, By-laws prohibited skates, skateboards and push scooters on City streets, sidewalks and pathways that were not designated for their use. In 2001, these modes of transportation began to be recognized by Council as a sustainable and popular form of recreation and transportation.
As a result, following staff recommendations in December 2001, City Council voted to relax the ban on skateboarding under certain conditions, as outlined in Appendix A. At that time, the Street and Traffic By-Law was amended to permit the use of skates, skateboards, and push-scooters on minor streets for a one year trial period. In addition, the By-law continued to give Police the authority to seize and detain skateboards, and push scooters if used in contravention of the By-Law.
Subsequent to the 2001 decision, in April 2003, Council passed a motion that the Street and Traffic By-Law be amended in the interim to permit the use of skateboards and in-line skates on minor streets indefinitely and to eliminate police authority to seize and detain skateboards. Council also requested that staff report back on the consequences of eliminating By-laws regulating skateboards, in-line skates, and push-scooters.
Currently, the Street and Traffic By-law permits the use of non-motorized skates, skateboards, or push scooters on any minor street, meaning streets without lane lines or directional dividing lines. Following the December 2001 decision, staff developed a brochure and website regarding the By-law changes, which also included telephone and email contacts for public feedback. Numerous advertisements in local newspapers and skateboarding magazines were also publicized to get the word out about the By-law changes. From this, staff have received numerous inquiries regarding the changes. However, staff have not received any complaints or negative feedback. Consultations with the Vancouver Police have also indicated that there has not been any significant impact to safety when limited to minor streets in the City. In addition, the Vancouver Skate Park Coalition (VSPC) was asked for comments regarding the current By-law. The VSPC did not raise any major concerns and was satisfied that the current By-law addressed skateboarders' rights.
The elimination of the police authority to seize and detain skateboards was also found not to be an issue. In discussions with members of the Vancouver Police Department, it was concluded that it was unlikely that any member of the department would need to seize and detain a skateboard unless it was found to be a danger or hazard to the public. Police do not typically target these operators and usually enforce based on public complaints. In situations that exceed the norm, the police would have other options available to them to protect public safety.
Based on this situation, it is proposed that the current bylaw provisions on skates and skateboards be continued. The current status is not creating any reports of difficulties, and the bylaw provisions provide a great degree of safety for skaters. It is recommended that these devices continue to be limited to minor streets where traffic volumes and speeds are generally lower. There are significant safety concerns with this form of transportation that would limit their use on major roads. A significantly higher rate of conflict between skaters and vehicles would occur on major streets, thereby adding an unnecessary risk to users. As a result, it is recommended that the Street and Traffic By-law 77A permitting non-motorized skates, skateboards, and push scooters remain Status-Quo.
The 2003 relaxation of the bylaw regarding skates on streets has been successful. Since there have been no apparent issues with the current status of the By-law, it is proposed that the bylaw continue to remain in place, thus permitting non-motorized skates, skateboards and push scooters to use minor streets with appropriate safety devices.
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BY-LAW 77 AND 77A - RIDING, COASTING AND SLIDING ON STREETS
77. Except as permitted by section 77A, No person shall coast or slide with sleds, skis, skates, skateboard or other apparatus on any street, lane, or other public place;
provided, however that the Council may declare any street, lane or other public place closed to all other traffic for the purpose of permitting coasting with sleds, skis, skates, skateboard or other apparatus thereon; and the Chief Constable may make such provision for prohibiting such other traffic and with the assistance of the City Engineer may make such provision for protecting such persons using such streets, lanes, or public places as aforesaid for the purpose of enabling such coasting and sledding to be carried on with safety.
77A. (1) Despite section 77 but subject to the requirements of this section 77A, a person may ride or coast on non-motorized skates, skateboard, or push scooter on any minor street.
(2) A person riding or coasting on non-motorized skates, skateboard, or push-scooter must, at the request of a police officer, state his or her correct name, address, and date of birth.
(3) A person must not ride or coast on non-motorized skates, skateboard, or push scooter on any minor street while wearing headphones, or any other manufactured device capable of transmitting sound, over or in close proximity to both ears, except that this prohibition will not apply to the wearing of a device designed and worn for the purpose of improving the wearer's ability to hear sounds emanating from outside of the device.
(4) A person must not ride or coast on non-motorized skates, skateboard, or push-scooter on any minor street unless:
(a) that person wears a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads, and front and rear reflective equipment, and, in the case of skates or a skateboard, wrist guards; and
(b) the skates, skateboard, or push-scooter has a braking mechanism.
(5) A person must not ride or coast on non-motorized skates, skateboard, or push-scooter on any minor street:
(a) unless that person travels in the direction of vehicular traffic and as closely as possible to the curb that separates the roadway from the sidewalk; or
(b) in a reckless manner or in a manner that will obstruct traffic or endanger the safety or property of any person.
(6) A police officer may arrest without warrant any person riding or coasting on skates, skateboard, or push-scooter whom the officer finds committing a breach of any provision of this By-law if such person fails to stop and state his or her correct name, address, and date of birth.
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