Senate Bill 994 and Health and Safety Code 115800 has turned skateboarders into criminals in their own skateparks they helped build. It must be repealed (deleted) and skateboarding added to the Hazardous Recreational Activity List (GC 831.7) to provide public skateparks immunity from injury lawsuits.
SKATEBOARDING IS NOT ON THE HRA LIST AS WE WERE DECIEVED INTO BELIEVING!
In the mid 90's the skateboarding community was pushed by industry group IASC (International Association of Skateboard Companies) into believing that all of our skateparks would close and no new ones could be built without passing a law that would add skateboarding to the Hazardous Recreational Activity List (GC 831.7) a code which exempts cities from injury liability lawsuits pertaining to certain sports. Of course this was received with a huge amount of support from the skateboarding community in spite of the fact there were no records of severe injuries and no records of lawsuits regarding skateboarding in a skatepark.
In 1997 then Assembly Members Morrow, Mazzoni, and Strom-Martin (Coauthor: Senator Thompson) wrote and passed AB 1296 which adds GC 115800 helmet and pad requirements to the health and safety code. The law also required cities to approve a city ordinance and post a sign that skateboarders would be subject to citation for not wearing helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads. This requirement was not and still is not supported by sports injury statistics ranking skateboarding as one of thw lowest injury rates. Cities were given the option of not enforcing the law, provided they posted a sign of their ordinance at the skatepark.
This law was so poorly written it did not make sense and had many flaws and loopholes. It cause major confusion and problems with cities, particularly those who chose not to enforce the law, and problems for skateboarders who skated at parks who did choose to enforce it. The law was scheduled to sunset in 2002.
In spite of the problems this bill caused, and pleas from the skateboarding community to let it sunset and put skateboarding on the HRA list, IASC again pushed for the new law, SB 994 which was written with no changes by now Senator Morrow and continued the helmet and pad law and other provisions through 2006. Scare tactic articles with ficticious headlines such as "Skateparks to Close Across California" came out in skate mags.
Now we have the opportunity to repeal (delete) this law and safety code and put skateboarding on the HRA list as cities and skateboarders supported in the first place. This will make safety gear a personal or family choice and exempt cities from injury lawsuits. The Judicial Council is reporting no law suits and no serious injuries as reported by California cities pursuant to SB 994.
FACT: Skateboarding in skateparks is one of the safest sports today yet it is the only sport with safety gear requirements and enforcable by police yeilding up to $360 fines!
NOTE: This repeal request does not affect California Vehicle Code 1924 requiring age 17 and under skateboarders to wear helmets on roads and pathways.
Please support this petition and make it more effective by finding out who your California State Senator is and write your own letter asking to carry the repeal request to the Senate floor in February. Find "your Senator" at http://www.senate.ca.gov
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