Skateboarding is no doubt a fun sport and very popular among youngsters. However, that also makes it more exposed to danger if not approached by precautions and safety. The law regarding skateboard helmets is by no means a vastly neglected one, especially amongst teenagers who love showing off their cool flexes and moves. However, have you ever wondered, why is there such a fuzz about this “minor” issue if it wasn’t that important? There have been reported deaths, brain hemorrhages, injuries, and so on. A small caution can save lives, whereas small negligence can take them away. As for the actual law, there are laws regarding helmets and safety equipment for skateboards. However, in many regions, people tend not to mind those laws. On the other hand, in states like California, the law is strict where riders must wear helmets while skateboarding. Now the question may arise. What is the significance of these laws and how much do they protect us? Well, we will be having a thorough discussion in that regard.
Laws for Wearing Helmet:
I’m sure many of you are wondering if there’s an actual law in this regard, considering how less attended topic it is. However, to the dissatisfaction of many, the helmet policy was implemented in 2003. According to Kaufman, Skateboarding helmets are not the same as those used by bikers. Skateboard helmets are referred to as “multi-impact” headgear. The cycling helmets are designed to safeguard the rider from a single big collision. Skateboarders, on the other hand, are constantly knocked around, so they need a helmet that can survive many collisions.” Officials in New York State have been Judged for not completing the most essential legislative duties this year, according to The New York Times. They did, however, approve a rule mandating children under the age of 14 to wear safety helmets when riding skateboards in public locations, which will have many further repercussions for young skateboarders. Furthermore, in California, the helmet requirement applies to anybody under the age of 18 who is riding a skateboard, due to Vehicle Code section 21212, according to spokesman Will Gutierrez.
Aside from the legislation, there’s a fact about the acceptance of wearing helmets while skateboarding. Some are not aware of the laws and therefore are those who just redeem them as unnecessary. According to Brad E. Kodesh, president of the A1skateboards.com Site, which distributes skateboarding equipment, said the regulation was unnecessary. “Inevitably, I believe it is the rider’s decision to wear a helmet; it should be governed by the guardian,” he added. Not only that, to some, this law is similar to the other unnecessary ticketing laws that are shoved on the citizens for “safety”. As ironic as it sounds, there is a strict law in regards that may sound ridiculous to a lot of people. For instance, from the same article in The New York Times, it was stated that “upon first offense, the skateboarder would be warned about the need of wearing a helmet. However, on the second time, the rider’s legal guardian may be imposed on by a penalty of up to $50”, according to Kevin C. Quinn, a spokesperson for the state, who added that courts would have jurisdiction. Sound like a total rip off right? So much for not wearing a piece of junk. But what else can you do when laws are laws? Well, you can follow them and stay safe.
Retribution against the laws:
Even though these laws are strictly stated for minors and teens under 18, but adults are also encouraged to wear helmets, pads, and safety equipment for precautions. But of course, wearing that piece of the junk while fun skate riding is not cool at all. I have collected a few pieces of data from various skate riders. The data states the reason the Skateboard riders are so against wearing helmets. The reason might seem silly to us regular folks. We’re no skate pro, are we? However, to them, this seems pretty serious. The reasons are:
skateboard riding is all about being flexible and agile. Reportedly, some regular skateboarders accept the fact that it could be a bit dangerous to go without a helmet, but the helmets and safety pads, and everything acts as an obstacle while riding. It feels like a bothersome burden while trying to pull up tricks on the skateboard. The helmet kind of gets in the way of their free liberal movement, which makes it uncomfortable.
- It’s cool to get hurt
the same skate rider stated that skateboarders are aware of the fact that getting hurt while skating is kind of cool. He also added that one of his friends said, “it’s so sickening to fall from the skate and get hurt”. These types of approaches are reportedly very popular amongst young skateboard riders. Falling off the grid and getting hurt gives you a warrior vibe that all brave men like to taste. Well, that’s a bit cute as long as you return in one piece, which unfortunately doesn’t always happen, technically speaking.
- Bound to hurt anyway
Skateboarders seem to have a rather vague mindset regarding the accidents that occur while riding. According to some riders, even if you have safety pads on, you are bound to injure yourself or at least have one or two broken legs and hands situation in your lifetime. Such an obscure viewpoint is a major reason skateboarders don’t find it specifically important to look for safety equipment. Let alone wearing a helmet that looks less cool and bothersome. the concept of getting injured or heart has little to no importance and in some cases. It seems to be a matter of pride. You know, all the cool kid thing.
- Confidence in flexibility
Onto the most significant reasoning, it is flooded with confidence. As skateboarding is an action sport, it comes with a handy pick of jumping into the air, spinning, nulling, pulling, and so on. Thus, it’s only natural that pro skateboarders are rather confident in their agility and flexibility. Knowing how to fall, flip, turn and position are common phenomena for the riders. Sadly, understanding the art of falling doesn’t always result well. One of the riders stated that skate life is supposed to be full of danger, and that’s the thrill of it. There’s nothing that can prevent your limbs from breaking. As a result, they might as well leave the heavy equipment out.
- Only on mega ramps
Because skateboard riders are so prominent in minimizing the shock, according to them, it’s perfectly fine not to wear helmets unless you’re skating on mega ramps, transitions, or big tracks. Of course, even the most rebellious skateboard riders acknowledge the fact that big tracks require safety precautions. However, they are mostly ignorant of the fact that public roads and state parks can also be dangerous.
- Lack of Knowledge and acceptance
most people, especially teenagers, are ignorant about the helmet law because of their lack of knowledge. Nobody cares unless they’re getting affected. In addition, there’s a call for being accepted in the social circle as well. Kids with a skateboard are always going for that cool kid looks. In the midst of it, a kid showing up wearing a helmet with his skateboard has the fear of not getting accepted. In an interview with a pro skateboard rider, Andy Anderson revealed similar facts. Even if he’s a pro and known as the most innovative ones in the crew, his friends often don’t appreciate his signature helmet-wearing looks. Outer influence is very significant amongst the young crews. Amongst all the reasons, this in my opinion is the most prominent fact that skateboard riders tend to leave out this precaution.
- Commercial purposes
According to Vancouver BC’s Andy Anderson, he would’ve made a lot more money if he wasn’t so fixated on wearing the helmet while skateboarding. It’s just another commercial scenario that media keeps pressurizing rising stars to fit in their standards. They don’t realize the shortcomings they are implementing in the younger generations by promoting such acts. He continues by saying how much pressurized he’s always is for taking off his helmets just to pose for some promotional shots.
Why is the implementation of Helmet Laws Important?
A fun fact about helmet laws is that they are not even widely known. No one cares until they’re already compromising their health for the sake of their ignorance. This is rather alarming, especially for children under 14 years old, as they are more prone to injuries than teenagers and adults. Helmets are recommended by pediatricians in the school of medicine, particularly for youngsters. After all, a huge number of youngsters have been killed or seriously wounded while riding without their helmets on.
Well, let us look into some real-life situations to look into facts about the importance of wearing a helmet while skateboarding. Then probably, we can judge for ourselves if the helmet law should be implemented or not.
- Life-story #1:
After falling off his skateboard, Jordan Weiss died while racing down a large hill in Sherman Oaks. he was reportedly not wearing his helmet while riding his skateboard. Nate Kaufman, a salesperson at Val Surf, the Studio City business that sells the most skateboards in the San Fernando Valley, wasn’t surprised by the news.
As he continued his speech, Kaufman added “A $30 to $40 helmet might have saved his life”.
- Life-story #2:
Aidan Schillings, a 19 years old skateboarder and college student reportedly crashed while riding and fractured his skull, and faced traumatic injuries. He also didn’t have his helmet in possession. He’s still unable to speak properly due to the trauma. However, Aiden has recently shown signs of improvement and has started to walk bit by bit. The doctor states that he is making a recovery. However, to his family’s greatest agony, he might never skateboard again.
“Now, how cool is it to have a part of your skull missing?” the report stated.
When looking at skateboarding safety statistics, it’s difficult to overlook the fact that beginning to skateboard entails a lot of falling. The experience comes with a lot of turmoil. Because of the nature of some of the injuries that riders sustain, the sport is popular and frequently seen as extreme. A fractured wrist is viewed by parents as a terrible injury for their child. A broken wrist, dislocated knee, and rolled ankles are the most related symptoms. However, these conditions are not as severe as having brain damage which can lead to death. Helmets are made to protect the head from any severe conditions. Thus, even if it’s impossible to completely ignore the minor injuries, it’s possible to prevent dire situations.
From the incidents above, we can get a vague picture of the severity of the scenario. It’s a fact that even for adults, major injuries are occurring. Whereas, the law is specifically implied for minors under 18 years. In the strict case of California Law, minors under 14 have to wear helmets while skateboarding. However, the scenario of people mending to the law is not that significant. At skateboarding sites, helmets are compulsory to everybody, not just youngsters; nevertheless, several parks don’t follow the regulation, making it a skate-at-your-own-risk situation. Thus, such occurrences keep happening.
Implications of Helmet law
As we have discussed, the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a skateboard is significant. The law states likewise. However, our above discussion also suggests that achieving such feet or implicating the idea of following this helmet law will be a path full of thorns. To succeed, here are some initiatives we can take.
- Early Initiatives as parents:
When it comes to skateboard safety, Kaufman believes parents have an obligation to take. He additionally thinks that it is the responsibility of parents to keep a watch on their child’s skateboard activities. He went on to say that parents should become aware of children as immediately as they begin skating. Furthermore, it’s essential to understand what type of risk you or your children are taking as a parent or as someone who is just getting started in a new sport. Every sport, including playground equipment, entails some level of danger. You can prepare better for any kind of hazards if you are aware of them.
- Promoting safety as coolness:
This mostly requires the support of the same age groups. In the instance of the helmet rule, it was widely noticed that minors frequently deny to wear helmets because they are afraid of being an oddball or seeming “less cool” among their friends. This act of fear leads to the demise of many young people including other sports or fields. Therefore, promoting this law, it might be a good approach to influence the age groups as a whole. For instance, it is setting up an idol to look up to or becoming an idol yourself. By making cool flips and spins while wearing a cool helmet doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Does it?
On the other hand, there are talented people out there that the minors can look up to for. For instance, Andy Anderson from Vancouver BC. A 24-year-old skater. He promotes skating with his helmets on even when he’s running his boards in the park. According to him, wearing helmets is a must as there’s no point in getting your skull damaged while trying to skate for the thrill. According to him, wearing a helmet takes away the danger. The most fascinating about his approach to helmets is that his skateboard features a paint of a skull wearing head protection. Now, how cool is that. Not only he designs his own helmets, but also, he’ll be wearing them during the Tokyo Skateboard Olympiads. If that doesn’t influence you, I don’t know what will.
- Helmet but Fashionable
Minor or even adults can look up to figures such as Andy Anderson. Other than the fact he’s cautious about his helmets, he certainly has a bunch of them with cool designs at his disposal. Getting one in different colors can be attracting a versatile for youngsters. However, choosing a safe one is the most important. Choose the right size, Consider the existence of straps for quality and robust fastening, as well as the potential of ventilation. You can paint on them or make your design. Cool right?
To conclude, Skateboard helmet rules in the United States require riders to wear them at most skateparks and areas where they may ride. Of course, no one prevents you from riding without a helmet in your neighborhood or around the home. Consider how long you’ll be out of service if you suffer a head injury. So, we should all think wisely and make good choices.