Prince Albert mulls mandatory helmets for skate park users

The City of Prince Albert is considering a bylaw to require anyone using its skate park to wear a helmet.
Prince Albert is considering enacting a bylaw requiring skate park users to wear helmets. (Ryan PIlon/CBC)

The City of Prince Albert is considering a bylaw to require anyone using its skate park to wear a helmet.

Officials are currently researching the idea. CBC News spoke to some skate park users who have seen — or experienced — some serious wipe outs.

"I see a lot of people hit their face on the ground, hit their head [and] get concussions," Robert Deeks told CBC News Tuesday. "I knocked out my teeth."

"I've seen many of my friends actually knock themselves out and knock their teeth out," Brody Chester, 17, added. "I've fallen myself, been unconscious."

As part of its helmet research, Prince Albert is checking into what other cities are doing and is consulting skate park users.

"I don't think that'd really be a bad idea," Deeks said when asked about mandatory helmets. "But a lot of people wouldn't really agree with it, because I know a lot of people don't wear helmets here."

Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne said he anticipates a skate park bylaw mandating helmets may not be followed by all users.

"I deal with the skateboard people all the time," Dionne told CBC News. "And I kind of like them because they're sort of free-spirits. So I don't think they're going to like the helmet. You'll see a sign that says 'Don't slide down the rail,' and zip down they go."

Chester said, from what he has seen, it is usually the more talented skate park users who are most often wearing helmets.

"You usually see the more skilled riders wear helmets," he said. "Those who just come to ride around here don't and they end up falling and getting injuries."

Some people are just not interested in wearing any extra gear.

"When I wear a helmet the strap under the neck and stuff is uncomfortable," Deeks said. "It gets kind of hot out here sometimes and it's just nice to have the wind go through your hair."

But Chester said one can get used to a helmet.

"I didn't actually like wearing helmets when I first started riding BMX, until I fell," he said. "Now I don't mind it at all."

Dionne said a province-wide helmet law would be easier for the city to enforce than a localized bylaw. He said Prince Albert has pressed for provincial legislation in the past, without success.

With files from CBC's Ryan Pilon

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