SB 1003 – Extends Qualified Immunity To Public Agencies To Persons Using Wheeled Recreational Devices At Skate Parks, Other Than Skateboards, Subject To Certain Conditions

CATEGORY: Client Update for Public Agencies, Fire Watch, Law Enforcement Briefing Room
CLIENT TYPE: Public Employers, Public Safety
DATE: Oct 26, 2020

Existing law provides qualified immunity to public agencies and public employees for injuries suffered by individuals engaged in “hazardous recreational activities,” which the law identifies as an activity “that creates a substantial, as distinguished from a minor, trivial, or insignificant, risk of injury to a participant or a spectator,” such as rock climbing. (Gov. Code Section 831.7.) In the 1990s, skateboarding at a facility or park owned or operated by a public entity was categorized as a hazardous recreational activity for which public agencies could receive qualified immunity, so long as (1) the person riding the skateboard was 12 years of age or older and engaged in a stunt, trick, or luge riding and (2) the public agency prohibited riding at the skate park unless that person is wearing a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads. (Health and Safety Code § 115800). A public agency could meet the second requirement at a facility not supervised on a regular basis by: (1) adopting an ordinance that requires a person riding a skateboard to wear a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads; and (2) posting signs giving reasonable notice about these safety requirements and warning persons that noncompliance will subject them to citation.

This bill extends that same qualified immunity, subject to the same requirements, to injuries arising from the use of “other wheeled recreational devices.” “Other wheeled recreational devices” are defined as “nonmotorized bicycles, scooters, inline skates, roller skates, or wheelchairs being used for recreational purposes.”

Other wheeled recreational devices were previously added to the law in 2015, but a sunset date on the addition lapsed on January 1, 2020, without any extension. This bill once again extends the qualified immunity afforded to public agencies in connection with skateboarding to other wheeled devices, but this time without a sunset provision.

(SB 1003 amends Health and Safety Code Section 115800.)