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The Golden Gate Roller Skate Ban

The Golden Gate Roller Skate Ban

It’s the 1970’s, and everyone in San Francisco is flocking to Golden Gate Park to lace up their roller skates. People of all ethnicities came together to roller skate and have fun. However, that was short lived. As rental skate trucks lined the outskirts of the park and more people came to skate, residents neighboring the park became upset.

After hearing about this, the media outlets began demonizing the group by calling them “berserk skaters”. One news channel asked a group of friends to perform tricks on camera which they obliged, but that evening their narrative changed. They used that video to write a story about the “dangers of roller skating”. With the power to influence so many people, the news stations narrative began to change the citizens of San Francisco view of the Golden Gate skaters.

Understanding the implication of this a passionate group of skaters feared a full ban in Golden Gate Park, so they met with Assistant Recreation and Parks Superintendent Peter Ashe on July 15, 1979. Instead of closing the park entirely, Peter Ashe formed the Skate Patrol which would police the park and administer first aide to injured skaters. The city did close nine areas of the park to skaters but with the Skate Patrols help the rest was safe.

Despite the media misleading the public about the dangers of roller skating and the pressure the neighbors were putting on the city, the Skate Patrol saved the skate scene in San Francisco. If you would like to read more about the Skate Patrol you can read the full article here at the SanFrancisco Chronicle.


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