Skateboarding has become a major form of transportation for students living in San Luis Obispo. It is fast and convenient, however, there are some restrictions that other modes don’t carry.
According to the Cal Poly Web site, the use of skateboards and motorized skateboards on the campus is strictly prohibited. Violators are subject to citation and/or discipline.
“It’s a safety issue,” said the commander of University Police Bill Watton. “The campus isn’t flat like most schools and the kids have no breaks so they have no control.”
The first offense will cost close to $100 and the second costs $180. The third jumps to $300.
“We try to work with the first-time offenders,” Watton said. “We want to make sure they clearly knew the rules before giving them a ticket. If they didn’t, we give them a warning until the next time.”
The rule has been enforced for about five years. There was about $20,000 to $25,000 a year in damages to the school because of grinding on curbs, handrails, etc. before the rule. Now there is only around $1,000 in damages a year, Watton said.
When it comes to students still doing tricks and going down stairwells on campus, Watton said it’s not as frequent.
“Not as much now,” Watton said. “I hear most of the time now students want to use it as a form of transportation.”
In the past, pro skaters Leo Romero, Corey Sheppard and Jeremy Wray took advantage of this “skaters paradise” as www.caliskatz.com calls the campus. Mark Gonzales’s tape “Video Days” was filmed here.
There are still laws enforced on skaters off campus, although some think the laws are not as strict.
“The laws are relatively low,” said long boarder Evan Dyer, 19, a construction management major at Cuesta College. “I’ve never been hassled.”
In San Luis Obispo, skateboarders are considered pedestrians and have to abide by the same rules. They can not be in the roadway or bike lanes and must ride on the sidewalks.
In what is considered the “downtown area” between Santa Rosa, Marsh, Nipomo and Monterey Streets, skateboarding is not allowed on the sidewalks. Between these two rules, skateboarding is hardly allowed downtown at all.
Most people report a complaint to the San Luis Obispo Police Department when there is skating in private parking lots, especially University Plaza behind Shell on Santa Rosa Street, SLOPD traffic officer Colleen Kevany said.
For first time offenders they will usually get a warning, but the second time they are arrested for trespassing.
“Most people don’t care, so we don’t care,” Kevany said. “It’s when they complain that we have to do something about it.”
Kevany has more problems with skateboarders on the streets than those doing off-street tricks. The fines start at $25 and work their way up.
“It’s when they’re skating too fast, go through a stop sign and get hit by a car,” Kevany said. “Then they wonder why they’re at fault.”
There is a legal spot to do tricks in town and that is the Santa Rosa Skate Park off Santa Rosa. It has ramps, half-pipes, a pyramid fun box and a planter rail.
It is open Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 12 to 7 p.m. The entrance fee is $2.
The restrictions include having to wear helmets and pads and signing a waiver and release form upon entrance.
Some spots made famous for tricks by professionals in San Luis Obispo include Laguna Middle School and San Luis Obispo High School.
Laguna has an 8-foot, 5-inch stair ledge that is 15 inches high. The skate videos “Man Down” and Zero’s “Misled Youth” have been filmed in San Luis Obispo, according to www.caliskatz.com.
SLO High has plenty of stairs and handrails and an 18-stair handrail that has been made famous by pro-skaters Corey Duffel, Gareth Sterth, Darrel Stanton and Anthony Musley.
The topography of San Luis Obispo makes it unique for long boarders.
There are plenty of hills located around town, such as Fredericks Street by Cal Poly, Patricia Street by Bishops Peak and Foothill and Highland.