Skateboarding helmet laws vary from state to state. Some states require that riders under a certain age wear them when they ride, while other states don't require riders to wear them at all. Violators in states that do require helmets while skateboarding face fines that may increase with repeated offenses. Skateboarding helmets must meet specific standards in states that mandate them, including the use of a chinstrap to hold the helmet in place. The main benefit of a helmet while skating is protection, although this doesn’t mean that all skateboarders wear helmets, regardless of what the law says.
Helmet laws for skateboarding can vary depending on what state you reside in. In New York, for example, all skateboarders under the age of 14 must wear a helmet. Florida and Georgia state that all skateboarders under the age of 16 must wear a helmet, while California law states that all riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. In some areas of Washington state, like Milton, all skateboarders must wear a helmet regardless of age.
States that do enforce skateboarding helmet laws also require the helmet itself to meet certain standards. In California, for example, all skateboard helmets must meet the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code enforces these standards in California. In New Jersey, skateboarding helmets must also meet the standards of the CPSC. This law went into effect on March 10, 1999.
Those who wish to skate in a city owned skate-park might have to wear a skateboard helmet, along with other protective gear, to do it legally. Under California Health and Safety Code section 115800, skate parks in California are not liable for any injuries that happen as a result of skating in the designated park as long as the facility posts a sign that requires all riders to wear a helmet and other protective gear such as knee pads and elbow pads.
On Aug. 1, 1998, New Jersey extended its bicycle helmet law to skateboarders. Under the law, all skateboarders under the age of 17 must wear a skateboarding helmet or face fines. The first offense will result in a fine of $25. Any offense after the first will result in a fine of $100. California law states that all riders 18 and younger who do not wear helmets while skateboarding will face a fine of $25. Portions of the fines paid in California go to fund skateboard safety education.
The main benefit to wearing a helmet while skateboarding is protection, although this doesn’t mean that all skateboarders wear protective helmets, regardless if their city or state requires them to do so. On June 16, 2006, a 14 year-old skateboarder hit his head while skating at the Port Angeles Skate Park in Washington state and slipped into a coma before passing away. Many in the community believe that the boy could have survived if the city had skateboarding helmet laws in place.
- Photo Credit skateboard image by Pablo Armelles from Fotolia.com new york image by Gerhard FÃ¼hring from Fotolia.com young skateboarder image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com skateboarder image by Elena kouptsova-vasic from Fotolia.com Cash image by Greg Carpenter from Fotolia.com
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