On Monday, State Senator Brian Jones’ Senate Bill 1003, which extends the immunity from liability that local governments receive when operating skate parks, was officially signed into law last night by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Jones’ legislation was co-authored by State Senators Pat Bates, Brian Dahle, and Ben Hueso, and was passed unanimously in both the State Assembly and the State Senate.
Skate parks are reserved areas—often in community parks—that are set aside and built for use by skateboarders and extreme sport riders who use all-wheeled, non-motorized bicycles, scooters, and wheelchairs. Locally operated skate parks are integral to many communities across California, giving children and young adults a place to make friends, exercise, and and hone their skills. Before the advent of skate parks, some skateboarders and sport riders would resort to using public streets, parking lots, and sidewalks, which endangers themselves and others, while also creating unnecessary risks of property damage.
While previously serving in the State Assembly, Jones authored Assembly Bill 1146, which provided a four-year immunity window for municipally operated skate parks. The law has been very successful, and leaders in San Diego County, which operates the highly acclaimed Lakeside Skatepark, requested that Jones author legislation this year to make the immunity permanent.
“Senate Bill 1003 grants much-needed immunity from liability for communities that operate skate parks,” said Senator Jones. “Local skateboarders and sport riders get a safer place than the streets to carve, do McTwists, or ollies, and taxpayers are not going to be liable for the occasional mishap that is inherent to all active sports.”
SB 1003 was passed as an urgency measure, and will therefore go into effect immediately. This year, perhaps more than any other, it’s vital to ensure that people have access to outdoor recreational activities that do not put already limited public resources at greater financial stress.