The one thing that annoys me most about modern skateboarding is how safety equipment is constantly marginalized to the point of being completely non-existent.
Sure, all skateboard products come with a sticker that says “wear appropriate safety equipment at all times and always skate within your means” but when was the last time you saw a pro skater wearing a helmet and pads in a skate video? The Veterans may have the common-sense to pad up at contests the world over, but the young pros – the ones who influence kids taking up the sports, won’t wear pads or helmets for love or money.
Shame really – when I was growing up, putting your pads and helmet on was one the the fun things about skating. Plus it made you feel invincible.
But invincible is one thing that youngsters are not, as this article on the PR Newswire website shows all too clearly. The article looks at the findings of the Consumer Products Safety Commission and an organisation called Safe Kids USA that found that the most common skateboarding injuries could be easily avoided.
Wrist injuries and concussion were the most prevalent injuries, both of which can be avoided through wearing proper safety equipment. Plus of course, incurring an injury takes you out of skateboarding for at least a couple of months. So which would you rather do – sit on the sidelines watching your friends skate whilst you recuperate or just wear a bit of padding and keep skating until the sun goes down?
The main guidelines of the Skateboarding Safety report were as follows:
- Never let children under the age of 5 years old ride a skateboard; poor balance makes them especially susceptible to falls.
- Younger skateboarders should try a tripod with two wheels in the front or a razor scooter with handle bars. These vehicles provide more stability and appropriate protection on level surfaces, making them a better form of transportation for city kids.
- Perform tricks in a designated skate park with a controlled setting–wider, smoother and more level surfaces.
- Wear appropriate gear–wrist and chin guards and a special helmet that covers the back of the head.
- Wear protective equipment at all times, even for short bursts of activity like a trip to see a neighbor or the park just down the street.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and terrain changes. Dismount the skateboard and run through areas plagued by potholes, excessive rubble, gravel surfaces or crowds of people–carrying the skateboard under your arm.
- Remain on the sidewalk at all times. Never ride in the road.
- Don’t skateboard on rainy days–concrete can become slippery, creating a dangerous environment even for experienced skaters.
- Maintain a balanced diet with calcium and vitamin D to keep bones stro
Video - An Introduction To Skateboard Safety Gear
All sounds do-able, right? We especially would like to remind parents never to let their kids ride in the road – it’s the main way fatalities happen on a skateboard.
Such a shame, as virtually all these accidents could be avoided by simply wearing pads and helmets. But until skate companies insist that their riders wear safety equipment in skate videos, we just can’t see this happening.