Skateboarding prohibited in Downtown Wake Forest

Monday, September 14, 2020 - 2:44pm

In recent days, Wake Forest officials have noticed large numbers of skateboarders in the downtown area. Skateboarders and their parents are reminded that Sec. 28-6 of the Town’s Code of Ordinances prohibits skateboarding on public streets and sidewalks in Wake Forest’s downtown municipal district. That district, also known as the Renaissance Area, extends roughly from south of Holding Avenue to just north of Spring Street and between South White Street and South Franklin Street.

Sec. 28-6 of the code of ordinances states: “No person shall operate, ride or use any motive device propelled or designed for propulsion by human power upon any public street, public sidewalk, or public vehicular area located in the downtown municipal service district according to the Town of Wake Forest zoning map. The term ‘motive device propelled or designed for propulsion by human power’ includes, by way of example and not limitation, tricycles, coasters, scooters, skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates, pedicabs and similar devices. The term does not include bicycles, (which are regulated in sections 30-14, 30-15 and 30-99), wagons or devices operated or used by handicapped or disabled persons, such as wheelchairs.”

Adopted in 2013, the ordinance is designed to protect the health and safety of both pedestrians and skateboarders and reduce the risk of damage to property.

As greater numbers of visitors discover and experience Downtown Wake Forest, the potential for serious injury caused by collisions with skateboarders increases. In fact, the 2013 skateboarding ban was enacted as a result of several close calls between pedestrians and skateboarders. In addition, many  merchants expressed concerns about the safety of skateboarders, especially what might happen if a skateboarder lost control and crashed through a storefront window – most of which are not tempered.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, downtown Wake Forest is attractive to skateboarders because it offers a variety of urban features, including ledges that are fun and challenging for skateboarders to ride along. Town officials caution against riding on brick or cement ledges due to the risk of injury and potential for costly damage to property. For example, in February 2013, skateboarders were responsible for approximately $5,000 worth of damage they caused to the seating wall in Centennial Plaza.

The ordinance that bans downtown skateboarding also bans tricycles, scooters, in-line skates and anything that moves by "human power." There are exceptions, however, including bicycles, wheelchairs and wagons. To view the entire ordinance, see Sec. 28-6 of the Wake Forest Code of Ordinances.