If you google 'cities where skateboarding is banned' a load of debatable posts come up. Should skating be banned in public places? There are all sorts of opinions on this question from skaters, pedestrians and authorities; Philadelphia introduces a ban on skating public sculptures, Laguna Beach set to ban downhill skating, police crackdown in Barcelona... Skating isn't always freedom of movement and sometimes it's impossible to know where or where not to skate. But here are 4 cities where authorities welcome skateboarders with open space, allowing them to roam free and even go so far as to encourage the activity. Let's go here...
1) Portland, USA
Portland is one of the few cities to recognize skateboarding as a legitimate mode of transportation and give it the same legal rights as a bicycle. In 2000 the council made it legal to skate the streets, however skaters are confined to the road in downtown areas (and no breaking the speed limit!). The city has even designated 'preferred skate routes' and provides skaters with a handy map to cruise around with, keeping things organised.
2) Malmo, Sweden
The home of 'Vert Attack', 'Ultrabowl' and the 'Get Set Go' girls contest, Malmo not only has a heap of awesome skate parks and events but lovely paved streets to roll down. The local organisation Bryggeriet together with the city of Malmo works together to run Skate Malmo, which collects together the scene in an informative and accessible way. The girls side of things is buzzing over there and Andrea from Skate Malmo keeps it all in order making it not only skate friendly but girl skate friendly! Here's Lucy Adams ripping up the bowl a couple years back.
3) San Diego, USA
San Diego is the home of many famous skateboarders, such as Tony Hawk and Cara-Beth Burnside, so how could it not be mega skate friendly! Although it's illegal to skate on the streets with the cars, there are miles of boardwalks and bike paths throughout the city, built specifically for rolling along (and that's why it was included in our 10 of the best cruisey skate towns). Skating is an accepted form of transportation and there are boards everywhere. The promenade from Mission Beach to Pacific Beach is a skate highway, with boards of all varieties cruising alongside bikes and pedestrians, problem free. A load of awesomely built skateparks, run by the council, give you enough play space to get your fix, and they are open 10am to dusk each day. That's a full day of skate...
4) Shenzhen, China
Famous skate photographer Blabac was on hand to capture Danny Way jumping the Great Wall of China in 2005, he since returned to China this year to photograph the scene. What did he find? A thriving enthusiasm towards skateboarding, with the public and authorities open to it and intrigued to find out more (and get on boards). Shenzhen being a popular choice for pro's and skate fiends due to its smooth marble ledges. Get over there whilst it's still friendly!
Now to some of the not so friendly bunch. These cities are known to provide some world class spots but not without a side of trouble...
The legendary skate city came under fire when it hosted the X Games last year and banned skateboarding in public places for the duration of the games. Madness! But it was back in 2005 that laws passed by the council made it a less friendly place to skate. It's definitely not brought an end to the scene there (not at all), just made it a little less sure..
In March this year it was reported that Bristol (an iconic UK city of skate) was trying to pass some bylaws which would do away with all sorts of fun activities in more than 200 parks and open spaces. Activities such as tree climbing and skateboarding.. two of our favourite things to do, we do not like the sound of that!
Being host of the X Games two years running and being the home of Love Park, Philly made a name for itself in the skate world in the early 00's. Then all of a sudden it whacked on a fine for those skating the streets and more recently skating public art. Don't chip it or you'll have to chip in with a hefty fine.
Yes LA is a city of skate, from Venice Beach to Hollywood High, but sometimes things can get a little unfriendly in town! Introducing a law making it illegal to bomb hills and skate over 10mph, you can even get into trouble for skating on the wrong side of the street… which side is that?