In-Line Skating Safety

The latest innovation in roller-skating is in-line skating. It has spread from hockey players to skiers, who used them for training, and then into the general population of fitness buffs and recreational sports consumers.

In-line skating can burn as many calories per minute as cycling or running. Its low-impact gliding strokes apply less than half the impact shock to joints than running. Routine in-line skating produces nearly the same increase in aerobic fitness as running.

Experts suggest investing in lessons to fully enjoy the sport. A competent instructor can help you develop the proper techniques to keep you safe and well protected. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 90 percent of all in-line skating injuries could have been prevented. Since unintentional injuries can occur to the most experienced in-line skater, we offer you the following safety tips:

Choose the proper skates to match your needs. Apart from the style durability, proper ankle support, and a comfortable fit are essential.
Always wear the recommended safety gear. Make sure you wear wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, and a helmet that covers the base of your skull.
To practice on your own when you're starting out, find a smooth, level place away from cars and crowds. Parking lots, playgrounds and parks are ideal.
Begin skating with a slow five minute warm-up. You will be less likely to tear muscles.
Maintain a good athletic stance with a low center of gravity. With your buttocks low, your upper body slightly forward, and your arms and hands out in front of you, push a little with one foot and then glide on both skates.
Unlike roller skates, the brake is on the back of an in-line skate. To practice stopping, bend a little at the waist, and place your weight on the non-braking foot. Then move your braking foot forward, and raise the toe of your braking foot so the brake pad touches the ground. Once you've got the brake pad touching the ground, gradually apply pressure to that heel and you'll slow down.
Keep your balance by bending your knees so you can adjust your stance and stay in control.
Accept the fact that falls will happen and practice falling on a soft lawn or a gym mat if you are a novice skater.
Use caution when skating around others. Be conscious of other skaters, pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists.
Skate on the right side of sidewalks, bike paths, and trails.
Don't pass without warning. Pass on the left as cars do, after yelling, "passing on the left."
Take extra caution in densely populated areas. Be especially watchful for cars and other traffic when crossing roads and streets. Look right-left-right and cross only when it is safe to do so.
Remember to obey all traffic regulations.
Watch out for skating trail conditions, weather conditions or hazards such as water, potholes or storm debris. Do not skate on wet or oily surfaces.
The more you ride the faster your skates break down. Check skates regularly to make sure they are in good condition. You can rotate the wheels approximately every 40 miles - or sooner if and when you become an aggressive skater.
For further information on in-line skating, contact the RollerBlade® In-Line Skating Association at 1-800-255-RISA