Don’t skate the rules

Published 8:05 am Saturday, February 23, 2008

By Staff
Apparently, some people who are either ignorant about the rules or don’t care about the rules are ruining others’ use of the Patrick Cochran Memorial Skatepark.
Those who are ignorant of the skatepark’s rules must be educated. Those who know about the skatepark’s rules but don’t care to abide by them should be punished.
Bicycles are forbidden at the skatepark. Apparently, someone, either out of ignorance or a flagrant disregard for the rules that govern use of the skatepark, chose to ride a bicycle in the skatepark. Sadly to say, that inappropriate action reportedly resulted in an injury to a 10-year-old boy. The injury, according to media reports, was serious enough to send the boy to a hospital.
Anyone who regularly listens to a scanner that picks up the Washington Police Department frequencies knows that police officers are being dispatched to the skatepark almost every day to deal with skateboarding scofflaws. Some of the more blatant violators of the skatepark’s rules have been banned from the facility. That may be going too far, unless those violators have been warned several times but continue to break the rules.
The skatepark’s rules and policies are posted at the skatepark.
For those people who haven’t seen those rules and polices or have chosen to ignore them, here they are. All people who use the skatepark are required to sign waivers and display a decal — furnished by the city — at all times when using the skatepark. If a skater or skateboarder is a minor, that person’s parent, guardian or custodian is required to sign a waiver before the minor may enter or use the skatepark.
It is unlawful for anyone to ride, operate or use a skateboard or in-line skates unless that person is wearing an appropriate helmet designed for skateboard and/or in-line skating use. The helmet must have a properly fastened chin strap. Anyone using the skatepark must wear elbow pads and knee pads. All required equipment must be in “good repair” at all times, according to the rules.
It’s unlawful for anyone in the skatepark to violate the skatepark’s rules or provisions of the waiver. Spectators are not allowed inside the skating area. Alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and illegal drugs are prohibited within the skatepark or on city property where the skatepark is located. Glass containers or other breakable glass products are not allowed in the skatepark. No edible items are allowed in the skatepark. Bicycles are not allowed in the skatepark.
Anyone who violates the rules or fails to comply with any of the skatepark’s regulations and policies will be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be prosecuted. Violators may be punished by being issued a citation for trespassing, a fine not to exceed $500 and/or seizure of skating, skateboarding or other equipment, according to a city ordinance.
Signs posted at the skatepark, which is unsupervised, warn people who use the facility they do so at their own risk.
Copies of the rules may be obtained from the Department of Parks and Recreation’s office in the Peterson Building next to the Civic Center. The rules are also posted at the entrance to the skatepark. Waiver forms also may be obtained at the Peterson Building office.
Now that people have been exposed to the rules and policies and forewarned about what may happen to them if they ignore the rules and policies, it’s up to the law-abiding skateboarders, the community and city officials to make sure those rules and policies are followed. The community invested money in the skatepark, so it has an interest in helping police that facility.
Anyone breaking the skatepark’s regulations should be and must be punished. That much is owed to those who follow the rules.
A few law-breakers shouldn’t be able to prevent others from enjoying the skatepark in a safe manner.
If someone can’t do rail time correctly, perhaps he or she needs to do some jail time correctly.