A common concern we hear at Rampfest all the time is "Skate Parks are so dangerous!"... Well, today I want to help educate everyone about how to maximise your safety at your local skate park - for both parents and participants.
Firstly - Skate Parks can be dangerous - like any sport, you can get hurt while participating in Action Sports, no one here will deny that. However, the risk is largely in your control - and when you take the proper steps, you can greatly reduce the chances of getting hurt - and make sure you have an awesome time instead!
RIDE SAFE TIPS - For Participants
The first thing you can do as a participant, is follow these 5 basic tips:
1. Wear your HELMET.
Whenever you are riding (in our Park or anywhere else!) – you should have a helmet on. Helmets should be firm fitting, and sit just above your eyebrows – with the strap secured under your chin. We also recommend you wear other appropriate safety gear – knee pads, elbow pads, mouth guard, wrist guards, ankle braces and gloves.
2. Look BEFORE you Ride.
Its like a road, but with more options – just like you don’t cross a road without looking, you shouldn’t start riding without looking left to right, front to back first.
3. Take Short Turns & Return to the Start.
Short turns make sure everyone gets a go and helps other riders keep track of where you are in the park. Riding predictably by returning to where you started from also helps everyone know when you’ve finished your run.
4. Only sit back on the DECKS of the ramps.
Sitting on the lip of a ramp or on the coping can get in the way of other users on the park. Always sit back to give other riders plenty of room. Always sit on the decks so you are visible – sitting at the bottom of ramps, or stopping anywhere between ramps is VERY DANGEROUS as others can’t see you.
5. Skate Parks are NOT Playgrounds.
You need to stay on your bike / scooter / skateboard or other wheeled device at all times. Don’t leave your equipment around the park, the ramps are NOT slippery slides, and the park is not a running track. Running around the park will only get in the way of other users.
6. Ride to your Ability.
It's not a race or a competition. Ride within your limits and progress at your own pace, as you feel comfortable. Most injuries occur when you try to rush something or learn something that is a bit beyond your current level.
When riding Rampfest, these tips are a part of Rules - and must be followed at our park. Read more about Skate Park Safety & Skate Park Rules at Rampfest by clicking the links.
Tips for Parents
1. Please Keep an Eye on Kids at Skate Parks
At Rampfest, all kids under 10 must be supervised by a parent, and we'd always recommend supervision at council parks too. When supervised, Parents can help the kids stick to the rules above - and this will be greatly appreciated by other users of the park.
2. Check the Equipment before Riding
A lot of accidents at parks occur due to equipment failure - we recommend that you keep your gear in good condition and make sure everything is nice and tight. Kids are notorious for not doing this at all! At a minimum, scooters and bikes should have Bar Ends (caps to protect you from the handlebars).
3. Make sure the Park is Suitable for their ability
If your kids are absolute beginners - make sure the park is suitable for them, or that they have someone to help teach them how to ride. Parks that have plenty of flat banks (no-curve, no coping), and smaller ramp areas are good for kids to get their confidence up. Taking beginners to a park with lots of big ramps unprepared will scare them, and lead to a less-than-fun experience.
The quickest way to get your kids up to speed at the skate park is through a coach or lesson. We offer Coaching Clinics at Rampfest, and a lot of councils or youth organisations offer clinics at public parks in holidays etc.
4. Have a chat to the locals
If there is a group of people already riding, say hi and ask what areas they are using so the kids don't get in the way by accident. 99% of park users will be amazing with young kids - and want to help them out - but there are always some bad apples... Best way to prevent this is to have a chat and ask what they're up to. Most of them will be stoked that you've made the effort and will be more than willing to give your kids some tips!
5. Read the Ride Safe Tips Above.
The participants Tips are important for spectators too - one of the most dangerous things you can do while supervising is to walk into the park without looking, or to stand in the wrong spot on a ramp (at the bottom, on the edge etc) - then, you're just increasing your own risk of getting hit or getting in someone's way.
6. Get involved yourself!
Why not give it a crack with your kids? Skate Parks have no age limits after all! We have plenty of Rad-Dads/Mums at Rampfest who get in a have a go - so why not! Getting active with your kids will make the whole thing more fun!
Hopefully these tips help everyone to stay safe at the Skate Park - and have more fun across the board!