Skateboarder death prompts calls for mandatory helmets
Jason McKinnon, 31, died of head injuries following crash at Fundy National Park
Skateboarders in New Brunswick are calling on politicians to bring in mandatory helmet rules for their sport, after the death earlier this month of a Saint John man on a skateboard.
Jason McKinnon, 31, died following a crash on July 12 at Fundy National Park. He hit his head falling off his skateboard, and was not wearing a helmet.
Jason MacLean, a member of the Fundy Skate Park Association and friend of McKinnon's, said it's time to change the culture to make wearing helmets mandatory.
"Skaters might argue that it's a comfort thing, that they feel somewhat restricted in a helmet, but the alternative is to be injured for life," said MacLean.
"Jay was a legend … He was one of the best skateboarders I ever knew. And for all people to fall, you never thought it would've been him, because he just had so much control."
There are currently no laws making helmets mandatory while skateboarding in Fredericton, Moncton, or Saint John, however Saint John has by-law in the works.
Common council is expected to come to a final decision on the proposed bylaw by the end of August.
MacLean said he hopes other cities follow Saint John's lead, but in the meantime, he suggests that enforcement start at home.
"Helmets save lives, it's simple. It's statistics," he said.
"Parents, I think you need to have a conversation with your kids and explain the importance of helmets. And it's a difficult job to ask a parent to enforce this, when all the other kids are not wearing helmets.
"It's a difficult thing for kids even to wear them, when they feel pressure not to. But it's just the right thing to do," said MacLean. "It's like wearing a selt belt in a car. I'm sure when the first person had to wear that selt belt they were like, 'This is horrible,' but now you can't imagine driving a car without it."
Alternative sports helmets are designed to protect the back of the head, and are built to withstand continuous impact.