Tip 1: Assess skateboard parks regularly to reduce risk
While skateboard parks might seem like risky, niche municipal investments, they engage youth in the community and can deter public injury and property damage by keeping skateboarders off the streets. Inline skaters and BMX bikers often use these facilities as well.
To keep users safe, perform regular inspections. Make sure the location is well-drained and dry. Lighting needs to be in good shape, and all rails should have end caps. Ramps, surfaces and walkways should be smooth and free of debris.
Competitions should be strictly controlled and subject to entry forms and waivers. Make safety gear mandatory, regardless of skill level. Signs with rules and hours should be prominent, clear, and easy to understand.
Record inspection results and incident reports, and hold onto them for a couple of years. By carefully noting changing conditions and staying on top of your skateboard parks, you’ll keep the community happy and lower risk for your municipality.
Tip 2: Unsupervised skateboard parks come with reduced liability
While it may seem counterintuitive, keeping skateboard parks unsupervised actually reduces your liability.
A supervised park may require a higher duty of care and will cost more to operate, which means you may need to charge user fees, deterring some people as a result. On the plus side, you can enforce the use of safety gear and require signed waivers, also locking up the facility during off-hours.
An unsupervised park can be more enjoyable for users who don’t like organized programs. This type of park is typically outdoors, needs less municipal involvement, and usually commands more community support. Post and promote the rules so skaters know that they’re using the park at their own risk.
With good signage and regular maintenance, an unsupervised outdoor location can be a win-win. But you absolutely must keep the park in excellent condition to reduce your liability.