Skateboarding has evolved from a mix of surfing and urban street culture appealing to rebellious youth with a mind of their own.
That rebellious, self-assuredness has even meant rejecting the notion that helmets, elbow, and knee pads are worthy safety precautions for all skateboarders.
So, why don’t skateboarders wear helmets?
It isn’t completely clear why so many skateboarders don’t like to wear helmets, but it would appear that more than 50% of skateboarders forgo the helmet and ride without one.
Knowing how dangerous skateboarding without a helmet can be, why is wearing a helmet so unpopular?
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Why Don’t Skateboarders Wear Helmets?
Could it be that helmets lower the ‘cool’ factor of skateboarders that wear one, or is it simply part of the so-called rebellious nature of teenage skateboarders?
These reasons, combined with younger boarders not seeing older riders wearing helmets and the lack of education about the importance of wearing a helmet, may be why the prevalence of helmet wearing is so low in the skateboarding community.
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Skateboard culture may be the thing that deters many from wearing a helmet. Many skateboarders believe that skating is all about style. Street skating especially focuses on how you look as you skate, and some think that wearing a helmet makes you look silly or like a beginner.
It is less likely that a skater will fall while skating if they are more experienced, so some will use that reasoning to justify not wearing a helmet. Experienced skateboarders may even have more technique in how they fall, so they’re less likely to hit their heads in a fall.
Could that be why skaters don’t like wearing helmets?
Skateboard Helmet Law
Skateboard helmet laws differ from state to state. Some states have state-wide skateboard helmet laws, and some have laws only within certain municipalities. Then, there are other states that have no helmet laws at all.
In California, for example, anyone under the age of eighteen is legally required to wear a helmet while skateboarding. Other states with similar laws are Delaware, Washington D.C, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Rhode Island.
There are also some states that have laws requiring the wearing of a helmet while on a bicycle, but no laws about wearing a helmet while skateboarding.
Most skate parks make their own rules as well and require anyone using their facilities to wear a helmet. This is not only for the safety of their patrons but also related to their liability insurance.
Why Skateboarders Don’t Wear Helmets
Some skateboarders that don’t wear helmets may argue that helmets are an annoyance and add unwanted weight when trying to learn new tricks. Some may think that they don’t look as cool when wearing a helmet, and so for appearance’s sake, skip out on wearing one.
There may also be a stigma surrounding helmets because it’s often beginners who wear helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads. Not wearing a helmet may be a way to signal to others your ‘advanced’ or ‘superior’ level of experience. This does not need to be true, but for many skateboarders, this is a common misconception.
Wearing A Helmet Skateboarding
It is highly recommended that anyone who decides to skate, no matter their experience level, should be wearing a helmet skateboarding. It can never be predicted when someone might fall while skateboarding, and it is not worth it to risk hitting your head on the cement or any other hard surface.
Falling while skateboarding can potentially lead to a concussion, or even worse, a traumatic brain injury. Multiple concussions can lead to long-lasting damage to your brain, which can cause memory loss, headaches, and difficulty focusing, among other issues. Skateboarders should wear helmets for their own safety anytime they are skating.
Pros And Cons Of Wearing A Helmet
There are many pros and cons of wearing a helmet, but the pros easily outweigh the cons.
The number one pro of wearing a helmet is that you can avoid injury to your head and your brain by wearing a helmet. This comes with many other pros, like maintaining your memory, ability to focus, and overall health.
Wearing a helmet can inspire confidence in yourself while skating; the helmet may eliminate the aspect of over-caution while skating because you know that even if you fall, your head will be protected.
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Some may argue that you’ll look less “cool” while skating if you wear a helmet. This may still be a common attitude at the skate parks, but your safety is more important than your image while skating.
Some complain that wearing a helmet makes their head hot and they sweat more, which then becomes uncomfortable while skating. Others argue that it’s just not as cool-looking as skating without a helmet.
Some pro-skaters have talked about the fact that they are less likely to become sponsored by certain brands for wearing a helmet because of the look that the helmet gives. A look that doesn’t quite fit their brand.
Why You Should Wear A Helmet Skateboarding
Why you should wear a helmet skateboarding is just plain common sense. Helmets have the power to save your life – literally!
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Many young people have had their lives and health severely impacted by not wearing a helmet while skateboarding. Some people have become paralyzed or have suffered traumatic brain injuries that don’t allow them to walk or talk in the same way that they used to. These types of injuries change people and their families forever.
There are many reasons why skaters don’t wear helmets. But, the simple act of strapping on a helmet before you hit the street or the skate park may save your life.
In the past, skateboarding culture has discouraged skaters from wearing helmets, but slowly the culture is changing to encourage helmet-wearing. Be the change!