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Skateboards on Solano

Posted by berkeleyscot on April 28, 2011

I walk on Solano Avenue almost everyday, doing my errands and feel fortunate that I can walk to most of the shops I need, but I get nervous on the Avenue when I hear a skateboarder trundling behind me. I usually step into a doorway to let them pass me safely, but I’m more concerned for my own safety than theirs.

Most skateboarders seem skilled, balanced and maneuver easily, but they do expect everyone to get out of their way. That’s not so easy for those of us who have mobility issues and can’t easily step aside for those with whom we share the sidewalk. Bicycles on sidewalks are also an issue, but I’m focusing on skateboards right now.

I am sure that when Solano Avenue was constructed, no one expected it would be used by other than pedestrians.

But, every day, I see pedestrians, joggers, people walking their dogs, mams with prams, people in wheelchairs, people using canes or walking frames. In many places, the sidewalks are too narrow and broken for more than single-file passage. Yet, the skateboarders trundle up and down.

Obviously, they and maybe most of Albany residents don’t know about City Ordinance 9-8.2 Roller Skates, Skateboards and Toy Vehicles.

Anyone can read Albany’s Municipal Code and Charter. It’s available online at

Chapter IX deals with Motor Vehicles and Traffic, and 9-8.2, Paragraph-a  says:

No person shall ride upon a skateboard, roller skates, or coaster or propel any such device on the street portion of Marin Avenue, San Pablo Avenue or Solano Avenue east of Adams within the City limits, except when crossing at a crosswalk.

So, it is clear that people ought not to ride skateboards at all on Solano.

Safely riding on a skateboard is addressed in Paragraph-d:

No person shall use a skateboard, coaster, or other similar device at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the street or sidewalk, or in any event at a speed which endangers the safety of any person or property.

I have seen skateboarders coming down the sidewalks of Solano at aggressive speeds, jumping and twisting, with no due regard for anyone’s safety, even their own.

Right-of-way is addressed in Paragraph-e:

Any person (rider) riding a skateboard, coaster or similar device shall at all times accord the right-of-way to any persons on foot. Without limitation of the foregoing, whenever any of the following conditions exist, a rider shall dismount at a safe distance and proceed on foot until such condition ceases to exist, which distance must be equal to or greater than fifteen (15’) from such condition:

1.  When the rider approaches any pedestrian and there is insufficient area for the rider to pass such person safely;

2.  When the rider approaches any person who, due to apparent physical condition, disability, or frailty, may be intimidated by the approach or passage of the rider; or

3.  When approaching two (2) or more persons on foot who are within ten (10’) of each other.

I started to write my thoughts on this because of my own disability (cerebral palsy) and because I am intimidated by skateboarders on the sidewalks of Solano Avenue.  I don’t expect anyone to call the Albany Police every time they encounter an errant skateboarder, but if skateboarders are made aware of these City of Albany codes, we should all be able to share the sidewalks safely.

Margaret A.M. Tong  © April 25, 2011


4 Responses to “Skateboards on Solano”

  1. Mark said

    What we need to do is get the cars off the streets; then the kids can skate and commuters can ride their bicycles to work, and the sidewalks will be safe for pedestrians.

  2. Aye, bit far’ll the cars ging? A’body’s gyan somewye. We hiv aa tae ging safely.

  3. Thank you for your recent comment on my blog. It is precisely for the possibility of reaching people like you that I wish to keep my blog public. I appreciate your insight into my daughter’s behavior. I too often try to imagine what she is thinking, and why she is doing what she is at any moment. It’s a frequent struggle of mine to balance empathy for her feelings with my own desire and sometimes actual need to move through our daily lives in a more prompt manner. I am also afflicted with a physical disability and so I sympathize with your difficulty in manuevering through a sidewalk that is being innapropriately used. It’s so hard for the young and physically able to realize that their actions are making others’ lives difficult. I love that you are a Scot, ever since I got hooked on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series of books I have been fascinated with all things Scotland. Anyway, all the best, and I hope you visit Alexa’s blog again someday.-Brandy

  4. Dave G said

    This was this was an informative read, thanks for making it available, I’m probably going to follow up on what others are saying!

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