Longboards are like skateboards, but they’re primarily used for sports and downhill racing instead of recreational skateboarding. While a skateboard might be up to 36 inches long, a longboard might be as long as 60 inches. Longboards are also wider than skateboards. The ordinary skateboards might be as wide as 8 inches, a longboard might be up to 10 inches in width. Longboards also have larger wheels than skateboards, and those wheels make them travel faster. The size of the wheels also makes longboards more suitable as a mode of transportation.
Rights of Longboarders in California
Aside from the requirement that anybody under the age of 18 must wear a helmet on a longboard, the State of California allows its various municipalities to implement their own ordinances in connection with longboards. In San Francisco, it’s perfectly legal for them to ride on most city streets. As most longboards are used for sport or racing, existing California law sees their riders as assuming the risk of an accident and injuries. On that legal basis, they would have no legal right to seek compensation for their damages anywhere in California.
If a person is longboarding for purposes of transportation and is involved in an accident, that individual might have a valid claim for personal injuries. Obviously, much depends on the skateboard ordinance of the municipality that the person was injured in.
A recent study from a Utah trauma center looked at injuries suffered by more than 800 individuals who were injured in skateboard or longboard accidents. More than 57% of those people were injured while longboarding. Longboarders were also found to be at a significantly higher risk for head injuries like skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. The higher risk of head injuries was attributed to downhill racing, high speeds and weaving between obstacles. Other injuries suffered by longboard accident victims include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Multiple fractures including wrist, hip and leg fractures.
- Damage to vital organs.
- Severe dental injuries.
- Joint damage.
- Road rash with infection.
Types of Longboard Accidents
Whether a longboard is being used for sport or for transportation, there can be a variety of causes of accidents and injuries. Here are a few of the causes:
- Distracted drivers, drivers who fail to yield the right-of-way and drivers who negligently drive into a zone designated for skateboards.
- Bicyclists and pedestrians who aren’t watching where they are going or dart out in front of a longboarder.
- Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two.
- Poorly maintained surfaces on streets or at parks.
- Dangerously defective helmets, longboards or their component parts.
Don’t Give a Statement
The insurer of the person or entity that caused your accident will likely contact you and ask for a recorded statement giving your version of what happened and how it happened. Politely refuse to give any such statement. California law doesn’t require you to give one. Contact Bay Area Bicycle Law at (415) 466-8717 as soon as possible after being injured in any longboard or skateboard accident for a free consultation and case review. We’ll be pleased to answer your questions and advise you on the full range of your legal options.