If you’re new to the sport of rollerblading, you were probably drawn in by how fun and easy skating looks. To an outsider, it appears as if you effortlessly glide around, exploring new areas and zooming down the sidewalk. And for the most part, that image is accurate. Rollerblading involves a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it truly is one of the more enjoyable and laidback sports out there.
Anytime you combine wheels with speed, however, there is the potential for an accident or injury. That is why rollerblading safety is so important. Nothing will put an end to your relaxing afternoon faster than getting hurt.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do in advance to help keep yourself safe. Follow our safety tips below when you go rollerblading.
7 Safety Tips For Rollerblading
The first tip may seem like it should go without saying, but the reality is that many people neglect to wear their helmet when they are out on their skates. Helmets provide cushioning to your skull in the event of an impact, helping to reduce the potential for concussions, brain damage, and other serious injuries. Even if you are just heading out for a skate around the block, you absolutely should not forget your helmet.
It’s also important to note that most basic helmets are rated for a single impact. After that, the cushioning is dramatically reduced and the helmet may no longer protect you. This impact doesn’t have to be a rollerblading accident, either– it could simply involve your helmet falling from a high-up place and hitting your cement garage floor. If you have a single impact helmet, be sure to treat it carefully, even when not in use.
You can get around this by wearing a multi-impact helmet. They are a little more expensive but they will last longer, too. S-One’s Lifer is one example of a helmet that is rated to withstand multiple impacts
One of the most important skills you should master before you venture out into the world on your rollerblades is the ability to stop. If you’re approaching an intersection or an obstacle such as a kid or critter jumps out in your path, you need to be able to safely and quickly bring your rollerblades to a complete stop.
The easiest way to do this is by using your heel brake. Simply bring one foot forward (if your pair of rollerblades only has one brake, be sure that this is the skate with the brake on it). Adjust your weight so that it is primarily on the back foot and then bring the heel brake on your front foot down to make contact with the ground. Keep it there until you come to a complete stop, pressing down harder if necessary.
Of course, skating onto the grass or a controlled fall will also work. Still, it is best to have a firm grasp on how to use your rollerblade’s brakes before you find yourself in a situation where you need them.
3. Properly Warm-Up
Although fun, rollerblading is a form of exercise, too. And, with any exercise, if you start out too fast you may increase your risk of injury. When you first begin a workout, your muscles are tight and tense. As you move around, more blood begins to circulate through them and they loosen up.
If you do too much on muscles that haven’t properly warmed up, you run the risk of pulling a muscle or experiencing another injury. To prevent this, create a solid warm-up routine before you lace up your skates. This could involve jumping jacks, a five-minute brisk walk, dynamic stretching, or any other gentle activity that gets you moving.
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4. Follow The Rules Of The Road
Before you start rollerblading, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic rules and norms. For example, if you are rollerblading down an area where there is no sidewalk and you have to take to the street, always skate on the right side of the street, as close to the edge of the road as you possibly can get.
Local laws are applicable here, too. If your city has an ordinance stating that no rollerblading is allowed in the downtown area, you will want to avoid that spot when mapping out your route. If you aren’t sure what the laws in your area are, you can try calling your local city clerk’s office.
5. Avoid Busy Streets And Sidewalks
Rollerblading is a lot more fun– not to mention safer– if you aren’t having to dodge other pedestrians and stop every block or so for cars. Depending on your area, you may not be able to avoid busier spots. If you can, however, try and find a route that takes you down a road less traveled.
6. Vary Your Route
Once you find a rollerblading route that you enjoy, it can be tempting to stick with it every time you go out. If you often go out to the same areas around the same time, however, you are falling into a pattern that others can easily notice. This can actually be dangerous, especially if you frequently find yourself rollerblading alone. A safer bet is to have a few different routes that you randomly choose from each time you venture out.
7. Stay Alert To Your Surroundings
It can be tempting to throw on your headphones and blast your favorite songs as you rollerblade. This can, however, be problematic.
With your headphones on, you aren’t going to be able to hear the people around you or approaching vehicles. Our ears help clue us in to our surroundings, sometimes alerting us to the need to stop for a car even if we don’t actually see the vehicle.
If you must wear headphones, at least leave one ear out so you can still hear your environment. Remember to follow our safety tips above when you rollerblading.
For many, rollerblading is a healthy and fun hobby. Making safety a priority is one way to help keep it that way. Thank you for reading our article on 7 safety tips for rollerblading.