A vast number of new skaters has joined our ranks this year. InLine Retailer and Industry News reported in its May 94 issue that "sales are way up from earlier forecasts and no one seems to know exactly why." Skate and accessories manufacturers are claiming from 10 to 400 percent gain in sales from last Spring. Many are finding it difficult to keep their dealers in skates as stock quickly moves out the door all over the country.
But there is a down side to this influx of new skaters. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recently reported that in-line skating-related injuries are expected to double this year, up from 37,000 in 1993 to 83,000. They predict that nearly 60% of the injuries will be suffered by skaters under 15 years old. The commission is not faulting in-line skate designs, however. They credit this statistic to the high-risk behavior of unskilled users, and a lack of instruction and protective gear in that group.
So if you see any skaters--young or old--exhibiting "high risk behavior" without the protection of a helmet and pads, give them a bit of friendly advice about the value of protective gear. And, if necessary, spend some time helping them learn how to stop.
By sharing your experience and safety tips, you may prevent some of those injury predictions from becoming actual statistics. Better yet, you could gain some new skating friends.