Skateboarding Safety in Clearwater Starts with You
Skateboarders and those who enjoy the excitement and joy of riding a skateboard are always susceptible to accidents that can result in mild to severe injuries or fatalities. Regardless of the type of skateboard or longboard that you ride and where you ride, accidents can happen through careless riding or pushing yourself too far beyond your current skills.
Even though one could argue that some disciplines and styles of skateboarding are more dangerous than others, the reality is that the level of danger primarily hinges upon the rider’s skill, awareness of surroundings, equipment, and the surface upon which they ride. Carving, cruising, sliding, pumping, freeriding, downhill, slalom, pools, parks, pipes, ditches, freestyle, street, paddle-skating, slope style, electric skateboards, and others each have their inherent risks.
Skateboarding injuries account for thousands of physical injuries each year and most involving children under the age of fifteen. Some of the most common types of injuries include sprains, fractures (head, knee, and leg), contusions, abrasions, and even death. The latter can happen due to encounters with vehicles or serious falls.
Skateboarding accidents can result from something as common as catching wheel bite on a turn or speed wobble, which can easily lead to serious injuries or even traumatic brain injury without the proper use of a helmet. That’s why it’s important to always wear protective safety gear including helmets and knee and elbow pads that meet current U.S. safety standards.
Pros always wear helmets and kneepads designed to protect your kneecaps from a direct impact and slides. Even with this gear, it’s up to the boarder never to push him, or herself, too far or fast in terms of new tricks or techniques. This also means learning to fall correctly so that you can avoid serious injuries.
According to Florida law, skateboarding is only allowed on public lands or government property if specifically approved by the landowner. In all other scenarios, the skateboarder assumes the possible risks of the sport/transit method. Whether you’re an old school pro or a newbie, your personal safety and even your life may depend on staying alert, wearing the proper safety gear and using the proper venues for boarding.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) lists several factors that lead to these increased injuries, such as lack of protective equipment, poor board maintenance, and irregular riding surfaces, to name a few. To help consumers avoid skateboarding-related injury, the CPSC offers the following tips:
- Never ride in the street.
- Don’t take chances.
- Only one person per skateboard.
- Never hitch a ride from a car, bus, truck or bicycle.
If you’re using your board for general transportation, remember that a large percentage of the many pedestrian accidents involving autos are people riding skateboards. As a result, some of these accidents can be due to driver negligence as opposed to the negligence of the skateboarder. Even accidents that happen at regulation skate parks or other legal skateboarding areas can be caused by poor upkeep or design flaws. In both cases, proving negligence under the law requires the help of a skilled personal injury attorney in Clearwater to support you in finding the evidence to prove your position.
For skateboarders, safety starts with you. Here in the Clearwater area and nationally, there are a number of places to learn more about skateboarding safety as well as ways to get the helmet that you need even if you can’t afford it. This Skateboard Safety website has some great info on staying safe. Additionally, the Ian Tillman Foundation has a number of safety programs designed for skateboarders and provides helmets to those who can’t afford them.