Safety first, kids |

Safety first, kids

John HartYoungsters at the skate board park at Condon Park Friday afternoon were not wearing helmets, including Mike Saffell, 15, of Grass Valley, pictured here.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Several lads at Grass Valley’s skatepark in Condon Park Friday afternoon expressed strong dislike for a new law requiring skateboarders under 18 to wear helmets.

Gov. Gray Davis signed into law Thursday requirements that youths on skateboards, in-line skates, scooters and roller skates wear helmets.

The new requirements will go into effect Jan. 1.

“It’s bogus,” said Brett Petty, 14, of Grass Valley. He claimed the helmets create more sweat, which rolls in skateboarders’ eyes.

Petty also said the requirements should be for all skateboarders, not just those under 18.

Harry Chode, 15, of Grass Valley, summed up the new law with a mild, cattle related obscenity.

Thirty-eight-year-old Tim Marchi wears a helmet while skateboarding because “it takes longer to heal from falls when you’re older.

“Plus, I have to work for a living,” said Marchi, father of a five-year-old and a baby born that morning.

A minority of skateboarders – about one-fifth – buy helmets when they buy skateboards, Sam Anderson, owner of Good Times Boards Store in Grass Valley, said.

“It’s a fashion problem,” Anderson said. “The only reason kids wear helmets at all is that parents say ‘No helmet, no skateboarding.'”

Youthful skateboarders purchase wrist guards, knee and elbow pads.

Anderson estimated there are about 5,000 skateboarders in Nevada County.

“I think it ‘s a good idea because it’s a dangerous sport,” Anderson said.

The state of California deemed skateboarding a dangerous sport a couple of years ago, which is why you see signs prohibiting skateboarding on city sidewalks and near businesses concerned about liability, Anderson said. “That’s why we have skateparks,” he added.

Helmets range from $15 to $40. Anderson advised parents to make sure helmets meet federal safety standards. “Make sure, because there’s a lot of really cheesy helmets that aren’t going to be very helpful.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User