SAFETY AND REFLECTIVE GEAR FOR ROLLERBLADING ENTHUSIASTS

Rollerblading, or inline skating, is a great way to exercise and many children throughout the world use it as a mode of transport to and from school.  Like all forms of transport it comes with its dangers, and one of the priorities for anyone wanting to start rollerblading should be to buy protective gear and a reflective vest.

BUYING ROLLER BLADES

A lot of parents take the view that their children’s feet are growing so quickly that they should buy roller blades which are a couple of sizes too big.  This really isn’t a good idea as there will be no ankle support and the child’s foot will be sliding up and down the skate, which means he/she will not have full control.  When buying roller blades, it is a good plan to wear the same socks that you will be wearing with the roller blades.

There are many different types of roller blades which are used for different styles of rollerblading, such as racing, hockey, street, recreational and fitness.  Go to a good store and talk to someone who is knowledgeable on the subject and they will point you in the right direction.

PROTECTIVE AND REFLECTIVE GEAR

A good, well fitted skating helmet is a must for head protection in a fall.  Bicycle helmets don’t cover the same head area as skating helmets.  Make sure that the helmet doesn’t move around on your head.  Choose a bright colour and add reflective strips to it, so it can be seen in conditions of poor visibility.  If you have a bad fall, remember that you must buy another helmet as it is very difficult to assess damage to a helmet and it is much better to be safe than sorry.  

Wear a reflective belt or vest over your clothing, so you can easily be seen by road users in bad weather or in the dark.  Wrist guards are a good addition to help prevent broken bones.  Knee and elbow pads also prevent lots of scrapes and bruising.

ACCIDENT FREE ROLLERBLADING

The first thing everyone needs to learn is how to stop.  This must be followed with instructions on how to fall without injuring yourself.  Try and go as low to the ground as possible and roll.  Make sure you and/or your children know where rollerblading is allowed.  If it is allowed on the pavement, consider pedestrians, especially the elderly who may not be able to move out of the way quickly.

Be aware of everyone and everything around you.  Teach children the rules of the road, even if they are not planning on rollerblading on it.  Leave your I-pod or cell phone at home, so you can hear traffic noise and surrounding sounds which may alert you to danger.

Check your roller blades regularly for worn or broken wheels and brakes or stoppers, dirt on bearings and broken laces or fastenings.