Look at This Sign!

Click here. It’ll take you to the photo at KaBOOM, with the headline: Would You Want to Play Here?

Answer: I don’t even think it’s allowed! — L

67 Responses

  1. Good lord. What can you do there?

  2. “Children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult” most children under 8 can’t even read those signs in todays educational environment. Although I see them grabbing mom or dad and “What doe that say?” when at the pool and all the rules posted there.

  3. So, if it’s prohibited to have no bare feet, no sandals, AND no flip-flops, I assume the only people who can play there have three feet, or wear their sandals on their hands.

  4. Linda, it’s a skatepark. It should actually be obvious you shouldn’t have any of those things since you should be wearing sneakers on your skateboard. The majority of those signs should go away.

  5. My personal favourite was:

    No Food or Drink
    No Alcoholic Beverages
    No Containers of Any Kind

    So I MUST have food, drink and booze, and must carry it in some kind of a container… Since it is prohibited not to have it…

    But forcing the under 11’s to have booze when it is illegal for them to buy it themselves seems MEAN… though I guess they do have thier parents with them…


  6. That’s a lot of rules, but for a skate park I think a lot of them make sense. The appearance is overkill with so many signs, and I don’t see why a “park closes at sunset” wouldn’t be sufficient for the hours sign, but the safety rules make a lot of sense. Put them on one sign, better organized, and it wouldn’t seem so ridiculous, I think.

    That said, I really want to see a unicycle rider going around in a skate park. Sounds challenging.

  7. They could save a lot of money by just putting up a big sign that says “NO” — and a big padlock on the “park”.

  8. So, does that mean that kids couldn’t say, bring a water bottle on a hot day?

    And who’s to say that you can’t skateboard in sandals. Ok, I could see no flip flops, but something like Tevas I could see. Might be stupid due to scraped toes, but not instantly fatal.

  9. This reminds me of warning signs on beaches in Hawaii, except that those are more varied and much more visual.

  10. I dunno, it looks less restrictive than my local public swimming pool. And all the rules seem reasonable to me. *shrugs* The format is the part that’s obnoxious. If it was a single, rather large sign with all the rules printed on it, I don’t think we’d take any notice.

  11. I would guess that the park officials have a contract with a sign company that normally does messages like “No Parking from 3 PM to 7 PM” and other instructions that fit on a common sized sign. It might have been cheaper to do all those little signs rather than one big one. And here again, many of the rules would seem obvious to any normal person, but the park authority lawyers may have recommended that prohibited behavior be spelled out “just in case”. To quote Frank Zappa and/or Harlan Ellison: “The two most plentiful things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity.”

  12. I’m sure the rest of the city’s fine, though.

  13. No unicycles? They’ve got everything covered.

  14. Play?! Oh no don’t do that! It could do permanent harm!

  15. I don’t know if when my inner child became bored reading she went in anyway or went elsewhere.

    The rules themselves are reasonable enough for a skate park (save for the necessity of booze :D) but this is overkilled redundancy.

    Even if I agree, so many signs makes me feel rebellious…

  16. I remember learning to skateboard wearing a pair of sandals. I must have been brought up in a reckless family. I also remember my uncle teaching me to windsurf. He went out on his board wearing welly boots, work suit and no life jacket.

    I agree with Emiky, these signs invite rebellion!

  17. @linda. That’s what I said when I read that idiocracy level of signage. I wonder what a judge who can actually read would make of someone who wore flip-flops or any of the ‘prohibited: No’ items. While the meaning is clear, the rule as written does not match the meaning. Their editor needs to be fired, or given a remedial lesson in what a colon means.

  18. The rules themselves are reasonable, but the presentation makes me want to go out there for the sole purpose of breaking as many of them as possible.

  19. “Prohibited:

    No Containers of Any Kind”

    Even if you discount the double negative this doesn’t make sense. Why isn’t someone allowed to bring their protective gear and skates in a bag and change at the park? Must they wear everything to the park?

    Its interesting that they don’t mention high explosives, firearms, or bladed weapons. Are they allowed?

  20. My senior photo is me on a downtown roof with my arm around a “no trespassing” sign while giving a thumbs-up.

  21. Peter’s comment of No and a Padlock cracked me up, and yes, I wonder Molly, I’m glad the boys can bring their gun with them. As long as it is not in a container they should be fine. My problem, is that we have the boys home during the day – and we like to go to the skate park when the school kids are not there, easier to play at the parks with less people. Wonder which cop has to drive by kicking people out.

  22. This totally reminds me of the Saturday Night Live commercial for happy fun ball. The super fun ball that you can do nothing with, just a long list of things not to do with it such as no bouncing it, no trowing it, don’t play catch with it….

  23. “Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs –
    F***n’ up the scenery, breakin’ my mind
    Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

  24. I agree with most everybody else – the rules make sense (and rules about appropriate footwear really ought to be common sense in a skate park!), but the presentation is obnoxious.

    Of course, I have to wonder… if the park is unsupervised, will anybody know if you break the rules?

  25. A skate park is a fairly specialized environment, designed for a somewhat dangerous pastime. If the artificial terrain is at all challenging, things like cups and bottles left around could cause nasty wipeouts. The wrong footwear – or no footwear at all – could also result in unpleasantness. This isn’t a normal multi-use public space, and the rules are there to insure that it CAN be used by those who want to skate.

    Yeah, that many signs looks obnoxious. On the other hand I seem to recall that at “unofficial” skate spots, if you do something stupid and annoy the skaters the usual practice is for them to beat the snot out of you.

    I’m sure motocross tracks, golf courses, and similar specialized sports areas have similar restrictions, one way or another.

  26. Funny. Looks like they posted the rules as they thought of them. But most of them make sense, given what the facility is. Is this really a free range issue, or just a design problem?

  27. Come to Northern Australia – majority of skate boarders where thongs – our national footwear 😉

  28. “Make sense” is just what these signs don’t do (see Jaynet’s comment).

    Notice the sign that reads: Children under the age of 11(!!!) to be accompanied by an adult. That sign alone makes this a free range issue.

    And, (and it’s kind of sad even to have to “explain” this, in the same way a joke gets killed in the explaining) fun shouldn’t be belittled. And real fun only happens when it’s carefree. Care Free. These signs, the horrid spawn of American’s litigious society, numerous and detailed, and displayed “in your face” like they are, put the kibosh on that.

    And frankly, it’s pathetic that it’s gotten to the point that people are so grateful that a place like this even exists, they happily submit themselves to be treated like idiots in exchange for being allow to play there.

    Sorry if the tone is snotty, but a gal can only take so much.

  29. That creates a lot of sign-making jobs in this down economy…LOL.

  30. The point missed by those truly interested in safety, as opposed to protection from lawsuits, is that such a proliferation of rules means that the really important ones will be overlooked or dismissed. For example, who bothers to read the long list of “lawyer’s warnings” that comes with every piece of equipment now? But buried amongst “Do not use this hair dryer while standing in the shower” and “Electrical cords are known by the State of California to contain lead; wash hands after every use” might be some useful safety warnings. But who would know?

  31. A poll on a mommy website: Do you EVER let your kids play outside unsupervised? (30% = NO!) http://bit.ly/eWpvY4 20 hours ago

    You know, Lenore, I don’t think this is fair. Aside from the fact that people largely (70%) said yes, if you read the comments most of them run “I don’t know why this is a big deal/controversial” or “I haven’t let my kids play outside alone yet, but I fully intend to once they’re no longer five” or “I’d love to let my kids play outside alone, but unfortunately where we live there IS no place to place that’s not the middle of the highway”.

    There are a few crazies… and people are telling them that they’re crazy.

  32. Except, Linda, there aren’t that many rules.

    There are two signs on the hours the park is open. That is, at most, one rule – I wouldn’t count “This park is open from when to when” to be a rule myself, but I can see how it can be construed that way.

    Then the rest of the rules run:

    1. Children under 11 must be supervised (by whom? Doesn’t say.)
    2. No non-skaters unless supervising a child.
    3. No skating when it’s slippery.
    4. Use appropriate protective equipment
    4a. (I wouldn’t count this as a separate rule, others might) Only use skateboards or inline skates
    5. Use appropriate footwear.
    6. Don’t bring non-skate things into the skate park (again, I would lump “no bikes” under “only use skateboards and inline skates”, but others may disagree)
    7. No food or drink, probably because they have nowhere to throw it out.

    At most, you’ve got 8 rules, the majority of which (wear shoes, use a skateboard, it’s on your own head if you end up hurt because you’re here when it’s iced over) really are common sense. The only thing obnoxious about that is that the people making these signs felt they needed to be spelled out.

    And of course you have one sign hilariously promising to fine people who break the rules… combined with another declaring that the park is unsupervised and you are skating at your own risk.

    The format is annoying, but if it were all on one sign like it really ought to have been it wouldn’t look half as bad.

  33. For reference, here’s the list of rules outside of most NYC playgrounds. We’ve got 16 there, not counting “Playground closes at dusk”.

    Lenore actually lives in NYC and must have passed by a playground at some point in the past year (even if her kids are too young for her to drag them there), but I’ve never seen that sign brought up as absurd. And some of those rules are absurd, and some are only absurd because you can’t imagine people doing them (and yet, people probably have done them), and many of them (the bare feet rule, the feeding pigeons rule) are widely flouted.

    (Incidentally, the rule about bare feet is because the playground safety surface in NYC is typically repurposed tires. It’s black, and it gets very hot in the sun, and you can actually get burns off of it if you touch it with bare skin in the summer. People have done that. There are a number of problems with this, but most of the time it’s not that hot and it’s safe to walk on barefoot, and people routinely take off their kids shoes so they can go in the sprinklers or the sandbox.)

  34. Years ago, MAD Magazine took the “Walk/Don’t Walk” sign prompting and ran with it to extremes (“Breathe/Don’t Breathe” was one example). Looking at this playground photo, it appears that MAD, once more, was only slightly ahead of its time. What a wacky world.

  35. I want to know what the problem is with unicycles. Both my kids ride them (we have a circus school close by) and a bunch of places won’t allow them. I’ve never understood why.

  36. I always laugh when I go through Kentucky and there are signs warning us not do drive farm equipment or “animals on foot” on the interstate. I’ve always wondered if you put a horse on rollerskates would that count as being “on foot.”

    Reading this, I started singing the old Capital One “NO” jingle:

  37. Linda is absolutely right. The constant blah blah blah of the rules’ signage threatens to render them meaningless.

    Uly, you think eight rules to use a park is a short list? Just because longer ones exist, doesn’t make eight a few. Do you bother to read all the rules listed before you enter a park? Does anyone? We all know why they’re there. Not to REALLY to warn someone about burning their feet on a particular surface, rather to cover their butts, should someone do so and seek to sue them.

    The climate created by the rules, regulations, and preemptive litigation insurance, comes at a cost: They menace the raison d’être of a playground — fun.

    Obviously, we can appreciate the situation that public playgrounds find themselves in regarding litigation, but we don’t have to like it. And the danger is, the more we accept it, the more we become a society that is “walking on eggshells”. Walking on eggshells isn’t particularly fun. And as I wrote earlier, fun is nothing to sneer at.

  38. Feeling really dumb here, but I’m having trouble finding an email address to send a note to you. Help? Thanks!

  39. I couldn’t help it…had to blog about this one, Lenore. For many reasons this particular situation got under my skin. http://secretmommy.blogspot.com/2011/04/do-you-need-to-be-told-how-to-play.html

  40. The one that gets me is the no non-skaters rule. It’s stupid, because skaters have non-skater friends, such as myself for example, who have no sense of balance and are thus grounded. I’m fine with that, but I still love watching my friends pull tricks, and seriously, you think any of *them* travelled with a first aid kit growing up? No, that was my role- the medic.

    As well, the fence is stupid, because really, all the skaters will just hop the fence, so only the truly lazy are even halted by it. Add to that the number of folks who have access to a pair of wire cutters, and it’s pretty much useless to have a chain link fence.

    Also, how do you enforce any of this at all as the park is unsupervised?

  41. It makes no sense that quad skates aren’t allowed. Doesn’t look like much fun at all!

  42. Uly, you think eight rules to use a park is a short list?

    Given that it’s a skate park? No, not really. Do you consider any of the listed rules unreasonable? (Well, I think “no non-skaters” probably is, but other than that one?) Which ones? Why?

  43. Sorry, obviously instead of “no, not really” I meant “no, not really, it’s not a big deal”. I answered the wrong question here 🙂

    The problem isn’t with the number of rules, it’s with how sensible or reasonable those rules are. DO you think these rules are unreasonable?

  44. “DO you think these rules are unreasonable?”

    Actually, I do — as rules. As good practices, many of them are fine, but I wouldn’t make them mandatory. The only sign that makes sense to me is the one saying that you skate at your own risk. Trying to legislate against stupidity is a fool’s errand.

    Particularly offensive is the sign that says the park is only open from 2:30pm to sunset on school days. Whose school? If you go to a private school with different holidays from the public schools, or if you are homeschooled, or if you are an adult or for any other reason not required to spend a lovely morning sitting in a classroom, why shouldn’t you use the park?

  45. Well fortunately riding my pet komodo dragon through their during an earthquake or hurricane while snorting coke is still allowed.

  46. “DO you think these rules are unreasonable?”

    Yeah, I do think some of them are unreasonable. In particular:

    No non-skaters. I’m an adult and I’ll stop by a skate park occasionally and watch.

    Children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult. It should be up to the parent as to whether a child under 11 or over 11 is capable of going to the skate park unaccompanied. Some 9 year olds can handle the responsibility and some 13 year olds can’t.

    Safety equipment (helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, etc) required. This is not common gear for skate parks. The kids at my local skate park never wear protective gear. When I lived in So. Cal., there were skate parks all over the place and kids never wore protective gear. Frankly, wearing it is up to the skater and the parent of the skater (if skater is a minor).

    Shoes – Again, this is up to the individual. Personally, I wouldn’t skate board in bare feet but it wasn’t uncommon in CA. Usually they had on shoes in the skate parks but the beaches were covered in people skateboardng without shoes.

    No food, drinks or containers. Skating is a physical sport. Clearly kids are going to get thirsty. The people I knew who went to the skate park often spent the entire day there. A snack may be desired. And all these things would need to be in containers, along with the knee pads, etc. Depending on where this park is located, leaving personal possession outside the park may or may not be advisable.

    Not being open during school hours. Many adults still like to skate. Why can’t they use the park during the day?

    Mostly, I just think the rules are paternalistic. They are controlling choices that should be left up to the individual. Ultimately, as far as law suits go, if someone chooses to wear flip flops and injures themselves because of that, they are either going to sue or they’re not, regardless of how many signs are posted prohibiting the behavior. That there was a sign prohibiting flip flops (although I’m not sure the sign does) is no better of a defense to a law suit than wearing flip flops while skating at a skate park is idiotic.

  47. Those signs have got to go.Some of those may be common sense things but the constant NO you can’t do this and this and this in all those crazy signs immediately made me want to ignore them all. Maybe it wouldn’t look as obnoxious if they were all on one sign. Even then it’s an awful lot of NO you can’t do this, and many of them seem overly restrictive. I don’t think we’d want to play there, at least not by the rules.

    My kids skate barefoot or in sandles often, don’t wear much protective gear and always have a water bottle with them. I’d be more likely to stand outside the fence than inside it to accompany my kids and we’ve happily used bikes, scooters and roller skates on the ramps at our parks without violating any rules.

  48. @Uly — As in my other responses, my point is not to deny or affirm whether any of these rules are reasonable (although, I’m inclined to agree with Linda’s one single “Skate at your own risk” sign idea) it’s that by doing this at all – posting blaring signs which reminds one of danger, danger, danger – kills the buzz. And the buzz matters.

    We are so used to seeing these horrors plastered all over any public place of joy, we don’t even read them anymore, rendering the supposed intended aspirations futile. But I would argue, they have an affect. A negative one. You are being scolded in advance, before you even get down to business. You can’t change the suffix of care from free to ful, and not change the fun quotient.

  49. Two anecdotes come to mind:

    The most recent – I went out to enjoy a hot tub without my glasses – in a Scottsdale motel. When I passed by the “rules” – close enough to read – I found I’d just broken three of them (OH MY!).

    It was everything I could do not to rush out to the check-in desk and confess.

    Back in 1979, my college roomate and I drove home via the Alaska Highway and stopped at Liard Hot Springs Park in British Columbia. The park has a nice long boardwalk to the pool were I used to bathe on similar family trips as a teenager. I noticed the rules which listed injunctions against a dozen or so activities – including bathing. I went down to the outlet to take my much need bath – thus keeping the soap and body grime out of the pool.

    That was a Saturday afternoon.

    Later, around 11PM we went back to find the pool full of locals – breaking damn near every rule – including the one against drinking. I was handed a communal bottle – which literally had a commercial label with the word “hootch” on it. I took my ritual belt and passed in back. Love those friendly Canadians.

    I note that the Ranger was nowhere in sight – Smart Man.

    Finally a comment. Here in Alaska we tend to shoot up highway signs. We don’t shoot up signs in town (never know for sure where those projectiles will go). But it occurs to me those signs could be improved with a few bullet holes.

  50. One of the signs states “All Individuals using this park understand and agree that they will proceed at their own risk”. Shouldn’t that cover it all? So if someone doesn’t want to wear a helmet, it’s their own risk. Why put up another sign that you have to wear protective gear?

  51. One of the signs clearly indicates the park is unsupervised and unattended. So who’s going to enforce all the rules?

  52. I agree that some of those would be best left to common sense. They might be reasonable, but the only skaters and no containers would quickly become inconvenient.

    Mostly it’s the presentation that bothers me. The skimble-skamble sign posting is obnoxious. How about one nice clean sign neatly listing these (with perhaps one or two extra signs reiterating some crucial ones elsewhere)? I would find that much less threatening.

  53. I would also suggest rewording these to be more postive. Maybe “skating participants only” which to me would allow friends and viewers and “appropriate gear must be worn”

  54. I must admit I had a good chuckle. How ridiculous! How about a sign that said “no trespassing”

  55. @Jynet: i *LOVE* your response! “Letter of the Law” haha!

  56. A local “splash park” started charging admissions when it had been free. This also means that this previously unsupervised park is now supervised. Sigh.

    Coby Android Tablet

  57. You may come here and stand…that’s about it. Now go.

  58. Charles’ comment about explosives/knives got me thinking. When there are fewer rules, common sense can reign. When there are all these “prohibiteds”, your mind automatically jumps to crazy things that got left off. And BECAUSE the signs are obnoxious, you now want to do those things. (Reading the comments above, I now know that it’s not just me. Thanks for helping my mental health) Without the sign, common sense would have a fighting chance.

  59. Oh, and about the park being unsupervised: there are so many micro-managers out there now, they just can’t handle the idea that people might be able to figure out what to do without their instruction. So they have to give it in absentia.

  60. @tired_triumph… YES…. YES….

  61. The wailing wall of abject stupidity.

  62. Considering it’s a skate park and not a playground, I don’t see these signs as a bad thing. One of the people who commented on the site said it best – they don’t want to be responsible for getting sued when some 120lb teenager collides with a 5-year-old.

    They are certainly careening around the place – so the rule list (while looking daunting and immediately unwarranted) is understandable for that particular place.

    Now if that were in front of a playground – I’d have a very, very, very different reaction.

  63. I think the rules are probably warranted (with a few exceptions- having “Dawn to dusk” as hours, having a slightly lower age minimum, and using proper grammar, for instance) the presentation is horrible. They should have one sign, that is clearly written, and written in a way that is respectful of the people who use the park.

    Could you imagine this type of signage at a parks & rec golf course?

  64. “since you should be wearing sneakers on your skateboard. ”

    I disagree. Bare feet give you a lot more grip on the board. Of course most people (including parent) these days don’t realise that.
    If you do insist on wearing boots or shoes, ankle high would probably be best when using a skateboard, reduces the risk of ankle injury if you fall when wearing shoes.
    Flipflops are indeed a menace, in that you tend to loose them, leaving yourself flying while your flipflops stay with the board 🙂

    “No unicycles? They’ve got everything covered”

    they don’t seem to ban quads 🙂

    “Their editor needs to be fired, or given a remedial lesson in what a colon means”

    A lot of what comes out of one seems to make its way onto signs like that as ideas…

    “The format is annoying, but if it were all on one sign like it really ought to have been it wouldn’t look half as bad.

    Most if not all of it should still be up to the people using the facility.
    What about:
    1) don’t litter
    2) use only for skateboards and inline skates
    3) we’re not liable for any damage you cause to yourself, others, or equipment
    4) don’t use between sunset and sunrise

    4 rules cover everything, while not trying to nanny everyone around.

  65. Well now, gee.
    What used to be about as freerange as it gets (teenage rolling wheels) has now become franchised……because that’s sure what those signs feel like.
    I get a real cute picture in my head, pondering the brain mush that came up with this stuff……someone sort of like the psychiatrist in Miracle on 34th Street – the one who tried to bust Santa Claus. wow.

    I’ll bet they lie awake nights worrying about what they forgot to mention in all those signs.

    Hmmmm. Do you suppose that all those corporate HMO’s fighting with the populace over healthcare claims are secretly designing society so that no kid ever gets so much as a scraped knee ever again?
    Could that be their corporate wet dream? Nothing but premiums coming in – no claims going out.

  66. Here’s a photo of a similar sign that I took last summer. Sadly enough, fishing and crabbing were prohibited from this spot until 2010. All you could do was walk along it -without a pet and while wearing an expensive beach badge – and admire the view.

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