Skateboard laws: 'I didn't even know where I could ride downtown'

EUGENE, Ore. -- A skateboarder was hit and seriously injured by a car in south Eugene Wednesday, just days before a public meeting scheduled to go over the proposed changes on the city's skateboard laws.

While the proposal could spell out some changes in the near future, many skaters aren't aware of the existing rules of the road.

"I mean, I work at a skate shop and I didn't even know the exact lines of where I could ride downtown," said Casey Sheldon of Tactics Boardshop.

Skateboarding is prohibited both in the streets and on the sidewalks of downtown Eugene, from Charnelton to Oak between 8th and 10th avenues.

Currently, skateboarders also can't ride:

  • On any sidewalk on either side of Willamette Street at 8th and 7th Avenues, or in the area between the Eugene Conference Center and the Hult Center

  • In any portion of the street designated for automobile travel, except when crossing the street in a crosswalk or at a right angle

  • On Adler Street between 12th and E 14th, or on 13th between Pearl and Kincaid Streets.

Skateboarders like Justin James say that unless you see the sign when you're cruising by you won't be aware of the rules.

"The skateboarders don't know the law because it's not shown or enforced constantly," said James.

Lee Shoemaker, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Eugene, says that under Oregon law, skateboarders are considered pedestrians.

"I think they may be confused because I do see people especially near campus riding in bike lanes or in the street without a bike lane," said Shoemaker.

The city is hosting an open house Monday night at the Eugene Public Library from 5:30-7 p.m. to discuss the proposed changes to skateboard laws.