SAFETY AND REFLECTIVE GEAR FOR SKATEBOARDERS

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Skateboarding is undeniably a fun activity and is increasing in popularity worldwide.  There are the inevitable cuts and bruises but more serious injuries can be avoided with a little care and common sense.  Buying the right protective and reflective gear, such as a safety vest, will help prevent injury.

Start slowly – learn to turn, slow down and stop before you begin any fancy manoeuvres.

BUYING YOUR SKATEBOARD

Make sure you buy the right board for your activity.  There are skateboards for speed, slalom and freestyle.  Some boards only allow a certain body weight – check this out carefully before you buy.

Before you go out on your board, check for sharp edges, cracks and damage to your wheels.  Skateboards are generally used on hard surfaces, such as concrete and tarmac, damage to wheels is common, which increases the possibility of accidents.

HELMET

The good helmet is essential when skateboarding.  Choose one which fits well and has a strong strap and buckle.  A lot of helmets have reflective strips which help to make you more visible in poor light.

WRIST GUARDS, KNEE PADS AND ELBOW PADS

When buying knee and elbow pads and wrist guards, make sure they fit well but don’t restrict movement.  Some wrists guards and elbow and knee pads have reflective strips built into them, if not, then buy reflective arm and leg bands to ensure high visibility.

SHOES

Invest in a good pair of closed shoes with a high grip rubber sole.  Leather or suede shoes will last a lot longer than synthetic shoes and are definitely worth the investment.

REFLECTIVE VEST

If you live in a cold climate, a padded jacket is a good buy but whatever you wear on your torso, wear a reflective vest over the top of it, so you stand out from the crowd.

WHERE DO YOU RIDE?

Many skate parks have areas especially for beginners, or you may decide your driveway is a good place to start.  Wherever you go, you should check the surface for cracks or objects which will interfere with your experience.  If you are mountain-boarding, it is vital that you walk the trail before you attempt it on your skateboard. 

Never ride in the road; you are not likely to survive a collision with a car.  It has been known for skateboarders to hitch a ride on the back of a motorised vehicle, it goes without saying that this is a highly dangerous thing to do.

SKATEBOARDING SAFETY TIPS

If you are at a skate park, look around you before you shove off, making sure there is no one in your path.  Be patient and wait your turn.

Leave you I-pod at home, you need to be aware of everything around and music is distracting.  If you have to ride on the pavement, be courteous to other people.  In a lot of countries in the world, this is illegal.

Ask your local skateboarding shop about good and safe places to ride.  They can give you advice on places suitable for different levels of competency.

LEARN HOW TO FALL

If you think you are about to lose your balance, then immediately crouch down so you don’t have far to fall.  Try and roll as you fall, to soften the impact and, if possible, try and land on a fleshy part of your anatomy.  Practice falling on a soft surface such as grass or sand.  For obvious reasons, don’t put sharp objects in your pockets.