Honolulu lawmakers look to pass helmet law for skateboarders

Honolulu lawmakers look to pass helmet law for skateboarders
Published: Jun. 3, 2013 at 9:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Skateboarder Dana Min had Aala Park's ramps all to himself Monday morning.  He doesn't wear a safety helmet and thinks no law should require him to strap one on at the skate park.

"Nothing should be mandatory," he said. "everything is pretty small.  You might skin your elbow.  But it's not really like life or death over here.

But city councilman Joey Manahan said  the sport is risky. He wants helmets mandatory for skateboarding in skate parks.

"We don't want to impugn anybody.  We're just saying,' Hey, please, if you're going to skate, wear a helmet,'" he said.

BIKEFACTORY urges all riders to wear helmets and protective gear.  Clerk Jase Kawasugi said based on sales, attitudes appear to be shifting toward safe skateboarding

"We typically order over a hundred helmets every time we order.  We're usually ordering every month," he said.

The two bills Manahan is pushing would require helmet wearing when skateboarding on city streets and sidewalks, malls, parks and public places.  One of the measures carries a $25 fine per citation.

"Some cities will give you a fine.  Others will actually give you a fine or even take away your skateboard," he said.

"I feel like it should be a skater's choice, or biker's, or whomever is riding -- their choice," Min said. "I hope it gets passed because I think it's important that people should wear helmets," skateboarder and bike rider Darian Gill said.

Manahan said the skateboard deaths of Hawaii Kai teenager Reid Krucky in April, and HPU athlete Kameron Steinhoff in 2011 prompts his push for helmet safety.

"I wanted to have the conversation.  I'm not really sure how it's going to turn out. I think it's going to depend a lot on the law enforcement side, see what they have to say," he said.

A skateboard helmet bill failed to gain traction in the state legislature.  Manahan hopes his helmet safety suggestions find firmer footing.

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