"The hardest thing about skateboarding is consistency: The slightest flick of your foot or gust of wind can send your board flying, so it's really anybody's game out there." --- Shaun White.
Skateboarding , one form of personal transportation , is also considered to be the following: an action sport; recreational activity; art form; or just plain good old outdoor exercise and fun. The sport itself has many adherents and has been shaped by many skateboarders throughout the years. A good per centage of the users are under the age of 18 and more than 75 per cent of them are male.
The arrival of warmer weather has also encouraged a great number of these speed enthusiasts to venture outdoors and and strut there stuff on sidewalks and roadways that were not initially meant for them to hotdog on. The uncontrollable nature of the board itself combined with the inexperience of many board riders leads at time to disastrous results.
Bumps, bruises, contusions and a host of assorted injuries are the likely result of inexperience. Skate boarders realize and accept the fact that over the course of time he/she will experience the occasional tumble, shinned knee or elbow cut that's why the majority of them wear helmets, knee pads and elbow guards.
The unaware pedestrian or motor vehicle operator immediately becomes aware of the inherent danger in the sport when a blurred figure immediately lands on top of or stops cold turkey in front of his car or else crashes into him unannounced while he is casually walking down a sidewalk unaware that a dangerous situation is about to occur.
A senior citizen out for an early evening walk with his or her dog on a city sidewalk, a mother pushing her young infant in a stroller or even a young couple walking hand in hand on a warm summer night should not have to concern themselves that an out of control skate board will suddenly careen into them and cause them physical harm. The senior can only move so fast and the mother with the infant is at the mercy of the board rider as it approaches them at break neck speeds.
I have recently jumped out of the way of a group of younger board riders as they frantically yelled, whistled and shouted at pedestrians in their route of travel to "get out of the way!". It was a Sunday afternoon and the public library I was visiting was located on a hill. The road way was marked for both cars and bicycles but the younger riders chose to use the sidewalk instead. I was lucky that they yelled at me for all of them were listening to their iPods and two were busy texting on their cell phones.
Skateboarders should be licensed before they are allowed to speed around in public places. The licensing would ensure that they have had sufficient training to handle themselves and their board around the public. Parents should ensure that their youngsters have had this necessary training to protect themselves and the public from harm. Fines should be levied on all riders who lack this training. If a bicycle rider requires a licence to be on the street then board riders should also require such documentation.
A skateboard is not a toy like a frisbee or hool hoop once were. It is a serious piece of uncontrollable transportation that puts the rider and the public at personal risk whenever a youthful rider gets the urge to test his or her mettle against the challenge of the sport. A public sidewalk, city street or even shopping mall parking lot is not the appropriate place for these young risk takers to enjoy their boards.
Standards should be set to protect the public and improve the safety aspect of the sport. Youth clubs or the merchandisers of the boards should offer an orientation program to provide the training, licensing and safety issues involved in using the board. Public streets, walkways and even shopping malls are not the correct venues to use to enjoy this sport.
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