How To Keep It Safe On Roller Skates

Sometimes all it takes is a Nerd candy sized pebble to make you face plant. Your rolling along with headphones dangling from your ears and all of a sudden you stop dead in your tracks. Pebbles can be a roller skaters worst enemy but once you learn how to properly fall, you will face your fears of the almighty pebble.

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Learning to fall is just one way to encourage roller skating safety  habits. I’ve put together a long list of safety tips and tricks to pack away in your skating arsenal because you never know if the neighborhood dog will attack or if drivers can even see you on the roadside.

Hopefully you wear your helmet and protective gear every time you skate and if not, make it a habit. According to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, head injuries are the most common and severe form of injury, accounting for more than 60 percent of bicycle and roller skating related deaths.

1. The fall: The biggest challenge of falling is learning to be as consistent as possible. Falling is not predictable and each fall will be unique. Whether you stumble on a rock and need to ease the impact or are moving too fast down a hill without brakes, learning to fall will make you a more confident skater.

Lesson 1: Practice falling in the grass and then roll at slow speeds. Start by bending your knees and slowly falling backwards on the padding of your butt. You will not always have the option to fall on your butt when moving at faster speeds but never use your arms to break your fall as you will risk spraining your wrists (Wrist guards are protective gear used to prevent road rash). The most promising style of falling is the duck and roll which reduces road rash and bruising. When you start to fall, do not fight it. The moment you lose your balance is the moment you need to plan for your fall so instead of flailing your arms around, focus on falling.

2. The time of day:
 Keep an eye on the clock and better yet, wear a watch while you skate. Even though you may be on the sidewalk of your neighborhood, rush hour traffic is dangerous and avoidable. Cross walks are crowded and you risk being hit by a car and colliding with pedestrians.

3. Passing: Always pass pedestrians, skaters and cyclists on their left by shouting out “On your left” when approaching to let them know you will be on their left.

4. Night Skating: For those too busy to squeeze some skating in their daily schedule, the evening makes for a more relaxing skating environment. It’s cooler and less crowded but you need to make yourself noticed and be able to see. Wear reflective material on your chest and back and attach a helmet light to your helmet when night skating. For extra caution you can always grab a pair of skate lights.

5. Rolling to the rhythmJamming out is fun but listening to music will reduce your ability to hear traffic, emergency sirens and other pedestrians. There are 3 things to consider for your safety when it comes to headphones.

  1. Never listen to your music at full volume.
  2. Do not use noise canceling headphones. They do not fit over your head with a helmet and they block out too much outside communication.
  3. Always tuck the headphone cable inside your shirt.

The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become on skates and the less you will have to worry. For the other roller skating safety measures, always go with your instinct and remember, no pain, no gain!