Skateboarding isn’t illegal anywhere in the world.
In every country, there are at least some places where it’s legal to skate.
This includes the United States, where unless there are laws specifically against skateboarding, skateboarding is always legal.
The legality of skateboarding, though, is also jurisdictional.
While skateboarding isn’t outright illegal anywhere, there are many laws which ban or restrict it in certain areas or at certain times of day.
By knowing the laws in your area, you can avoid riding your skateboard where it IS illegal to ride and keep your skating on the safe side of the law.
So, where is skateboarding illegal?
Where skateboarding is illegal or prohibited varies by municipality.
Much of the time when skateboarding is prohibited, it’s prohibited in specifically-zoned areas.
In some cities, skateboarding is illegal in commercially-zoned spaces, for instance, such as on shopping streets and in city centers.
In others, skateboarding is prohibited near hospitals, schools, or business parks.
Some jurisdictions, like Atlanta, Georgia, extend the prohibition of skateboards over a wide area.
In Atlanta, the law states:
There shall be no skating or riding on the sidewalks within the central traffic district or any business district…
As you might expect, this bans skateboards throughout pretty much the entirety of Downtown Atlanta.
However, it does so only on sidewalks.
As the law reads, skaters are still permitted to skateboard in Downtown Atlanta if they use roadways.
In effect, this makes the Atlanta skateboard law largely a recreational ban.
Those using skateboards for transportation may still legally do so on city streets.
It’s also important to note the Atlanta law is a more sweeping skateboard law than most.
Most of the time, when skateboards are prohibited, they are prohibited over much smaller spaces.
Where has skateboarding been banned in the past?
While skateboarding isn’t illegal anywhere, and, today, the Atlanta skateboard law seems rather sweeping, there has actually been a time and place where skateboards were banned almost entirely.
Between 1978 and 1989, Norway had laws against selling, importing, or advertising skateboards.
That didn’t mean skateboards were completely non-existent in the country.
There was one skatepark in Oslo where skateboarding was legally permitted with membership.
But buying, selling, or bringing a board into the country was prohibited, even though it was perfectly legal in all nearby countries.
As insane as this all may sound, it might help to recognize that even the overreaching Norway ban was enacted with good intentions.
Norway banned skateboards based on the injury statistics of children in the U.S.
Which brings us to…
Why is skateboarding illegal?
It might not feel like it as a skater, but prohibitions on skateboards in certain areas are enacted for two main reasons:
One is to protect the public (mainly pedestrians).
Two is to avoid public nuisance.
Banning skateboards in public squares and on busy streets reduces risk to people on foot. (Typically, when skateboards are banned in these areas, bikes, scooters, and rollerblades/roller skates are too.)
And banning skateboards around hospitals/schools and at certain times of day eliminates the noise from skateboards, which can be disruptive.
Agree with it or not, these are the reasons skateboard laws exist.
Skateboarding Is Legal Everywhere
Though there are plenty of laws dictating where and when skateboarding is permitted, skateboarding isn’t all-out illegal anywhere. (At least, not anymore.)
So, wherever you are in the world, just know you are always within your rights to grab your board and go.
Want to know more about skateboarding and the law? See Is Skateboarding Illegal?