No bikes, scooters, skateboards in Alameda parks?

Thanks are due to John Knox White who attended Tuesday night’s Alameda City Council meeting and reported on a municipal code change to ban ‘muscle-powered’ vehicles in city parks. In his post about the meeting (which I urge you to read in its entirety) he wrote:

The council must have been in quite a hurry to get to the budget last night because that’s the only excuse I can come up with for how the council could get into a discussion on banning skateboarding in a parking garage (not a terrible idea) and vote unanimously to ban bikes, skateboards, scooters and ALL muscular powered vehicles from all city parks unless the city puts up signs saying it’s “permitted.”


In the spirit of children’s entertainment, I’ll suggest the council call for a “do over” and bring this back whether a second reading is called for or not.

It would be hard not to think that this action was taken with undue haste. And it sounds like, procedure-wise, the law needs to come up for consideration a second time before it is finalized. Councilmember Frank Matarrese acknowledged flaws in the process. “The discussion around this first reading of the proposed ordinance missed some obvious points,” he wrote in an email. “So I think we have to focus back on the goal of putting safety rules into effect for our parking lots and the parking structure.” You can always email your city council.


  • Shauna

    I am a 39-year old accountant & mother of 2 who rides a skateboard to run errands, not to mention for the sheer joy of it, & I am not thrilled.

  • Robert

    Per this article, the city council “voted unanimously to ban bikes, skateboards, scooters and ALL muscular powered vehicles…”

    I’m a 63 year old grandfather who pulls his two little grandkids onto the park grounds in their coaster wagon. As the wagon has four wheels, is pulled by me, this seems to be a “human powered vehicle”.

    Do I face arrest if I pull them onto park grounds in their wagon?

    Will a three year old riding their tricycle in the park also face arrest?

    Our city fathers have done some really stupid things in the past, but outlawing a 63 year old from pulling his grandkids in their coaster wagon is simply ludicrous.

    But then again, a minimum IQ is not required for for city council members.

  • LG

    Imagine this, a court case: Obesity v. City of Alameda Parks and Recreation

    Literally speaking, this restriction sounds like it may conditionally include wheel-chairs, strollers, segues, pogo sticks, because they all require some type of muscle-power for machine-like operation. Will city officials and enforcement abide by this as well? Does this ‘amendment’ give privilege to the park services to operate muscle muscle-powered and operated machinery on the park grounds?

    I could see how banning Bikes, Scooters, Skateboards could POSSIBLY reduce drug and criminal activity. No one in city council clearly sated the reason for this passage.

    However, where would I park a bike to if I can’t have it in the park? Will locks be provided for the public or a booth and an attendant at the front of the parks to guard my belongings? Same goes for Skateboards and Scooters? Are we considereing criminlizing park goers, why don’t we just put on metal detectors instead?

    Traditionally, kids and adults biked to the parks just to get out of the house. Truly it would be a HUGE waste of tax dollars if people quit showing up to Alameda parks because their mode of transportation is a bike, scooter, or skateboard.

    Is the city of Alameda planning on accommodating the bike riders a destination?

    Does the city of Alameda recommend we ride our horses the park?

    Come on City Council; get your geese lined-up before the media gets a hold of your ill thought-out plans.

  • Brian

    I have been a resident and property owner in Alameda for some 21 years now. Over the past 21 years I have enjoyed biking and rollerblading through the city streets and parks. I might have even ridden a skateboard a few times. Now I have a young daughter, and we enjoy biking around Alameda and we take trips with the bike and bike trailer to the various parks and events in Alameda.

    Alameda has been slowly improving its bike and recreational access over the years. We appreciate the increased availability and look forward to even more access in the future. In a time when gas is approaching $5 per gallon, the option for us to bike (or rollerblade or skateboard) on our local errands really makes sense. In addition, these modes of transportation are really the only ones available to our youths.

    The proposed change to Alameda’s Municipal Code is a HUGE step in the wrong direction. Banning bikes from the city’s parks (including the bike paths) is just wrong

    The change in the Municipal Code was prompted by skateboarders in the parking structure and skateboarders damaging public property (by sliding on benches, walls, etc). Why not just create the restrictions there?

    – The riding of bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, and other human powered devices (physically impaired persons exempted) could be expressly prohibited above the first floor and on all ramps of the new parking structure.
    – Intentionally jumping, riding, or sliding a skateboard, rollerblades, bicycles, and other human powered devices onto benches, walls, curbs, or other public property not meant for vehicle or pedestrian traffic could be expressly prohibited.

    Why met out collective punishment and design a system that would be expensive to create and maintain?
    Sure, we could print hundreds of signs to tell us where we are allowed to ride… But wouldn’t it be easier to just print a couple of signs to tell the few fools where not to ride?