Common sense – 10 ways for skaters to avoid bans
As more and more inliners take to the roads and paths of this great country, encounters between skaters and the civilians (any non-skater) become more likely. Cities, parks and educational institutions are taking a second look at inline skaters and asking whether they can abide by wheeled beings plying their pavement. In large measure, their decisions to give inliners the green light are formed by the image they have of the local skate talent. Here are ten common sense things you can do to get out in front of the restrictions in your community. By presenting the image of a sane and reasonable collection of carbon molecules you might avoid future unpleasantness:
- Skate Smart – Build the image of the inline skater as a safety conscious individual.
- Align With The Bicyclist – Bikers are pursuing a legitimate sport, let this rub off.
- Sponsor Family Days – Any time Grandma and the kids do something…it must be o.k.
- Skate With Community Leaders – Most have always “wanted to try it”. Educated them.
- Offer The Law Enforcement Community Help – Extra eyes for the police, our friends.
- Sponsor Safety Clinics – Who knows, you might even get paid.
- Attend Regulatory Meetings (Traffic, City, School) – Wear your nice clothes.
- Sponsor A School Program – Get the educators behind the movement.
- Visit The Rental Shop – Help them have safe customers.
- Police Yourself – Organize (or don’t), but make sure skaters obey the right laws at the right times.
Remember that the sport of inline skating is very cool, very fun and can be quite wacky, but as a role model for the beginner we all have a responsibility to execute our stranger and more dangerous maneuvers out of eye and camera shot. By all means, push the sport, make the best of your skate, but also Skate Smart, Skate Polite and, when appropriate, skate stealth.
The Government Relations Program maintains a comprehensive database of information relating to inline skating restrictions. In addition, the committee provides a forum for dialog among governmental officials, retailers and skaters. They also provide consultation and expert testimony in matters relating to inline skating. Over 1,000 volunteers have either worked with the Government Relations Program or have provided aid in opposing restrictions.
The Government Relations Program effort monitors legislative initiatives on a weekly basis. New legislation, the status on proposed bills, amendments and committee hearings are tracked.
Highlights of Activities
Since 1991, the Government Relations Program has successfully defended skating venues in more than three dozen locations, including Central Park,New York City; Venice Beach, California; Rochester, Michigan; Palm Beach,Florida; Birmingham, Alabama; Portland, Oregon and London, Ontario, Canada. These efforts and the continuing work of the GRC helps to substantiate the right-to-skate.
IISA Policy on Helmets and Protective Gear
Adopted by the IISA Executive Committee on May 7, 1996:
The International Inline Skating Association (IISA) supports legislation requiring persons under the age of 18 to wear helmets while inline skating, and strongly recommends the voluntary use of helmets by all skaters. Helmets should meet the standards of recognized organizations including ANSI, Snell, ASTM, and HECC. The IISA also strongly recommends the use of other appropriate protective gear, including hand and wrist protection, and knee and elbow pads when inline skating. The IISA strongly encourages all retailers to offer full protective gear for sale or rent on their premises and supports mandatory legislation to this end
Advice For Defending Yourself Against A Skating Charge
First, be very cool and professional, wear a suit and portray yourself as someone with responsibility. Indicate that you are not a “kid” using “toys” but an adult with a mission to commute from Point A to Point B. Tell them that you were using your skates as one might use a bicycle, something that is recognized in the State of Wisconsin as having due rights to the road. In this way, the logic that the enforcement of the Toy Skate Ordinance is totally inappropriate and something that was never intended when it was passed. The intent was to keep kids on metal-toe-pinchers out of the street. You are not in that class, you travel with and in the same places as bikes, at the same speed and use similar protective gear (I hope). Demonstrate your ability to stop, accelerate and maneuver.
Indicate that the International Inline Skating Association has a Government Relations Committee that is working directly with States to propose model skate statutes to update these “toy skate” laws to the current technology. Indicate that the inline skate community has a vested interest in keeping the sport sake and has invested over 10 million in a Skate Smart campaign to promote the safe use of inline skates. Indicate that this statue has been successfully updated in several cities and States and that you would be happy to work on updating your State’s law.
I’m only sorry that I can’t spend more time with you on this one, I am fighting specific bans in Cities and trying to hold down a job at Ford. I hope that including a report on my successful defense of a ticket for being a pedestrian will inspire you and give you an idea of the tone to take. Make friends.
In some places, inline skating is illegal. This isn’t to say inline skates have been outlawed, but rather certain antiquated prohibitions against using tiny metal-wheeled rollerskates in traffic haven’t been updated to accomodate new skating technology which includes stable boots, smooth-riding wheels, and brakes. After getting a skating ticket in his hometown,Cleveland Heights skater Lawrence Minadeo fought the law and won. His success is a textbook example of how you too can help update the law and take back the streets.
Advice for Approaching City Councils On the Issue of inline Skating
- If the city council in your township has enacted legislation or proposed legislation for the regulation of inline skating, contact city hall an ask for a copy of what has been presented or enacted.
- Most city councils have a clause in their establishment that demands “ample time for public comment.” On the first reading of proposals, no decision can be made. On the second or subsequent readings, decisions can be reached and legislation enacted. You should attend those meetings that are open to the public.
- If a proposal is scheduled for a first or second reading, or legislation has been passed, go to your city hall. Ask for the meeting schedule and agenda of the next meeting. Get the name and address of the individual running these meetings. Write her or him a letter asking to speak to the council. Be nice and follow the sample letter included on the last page. You do not need to write a letter, but often councils limit the number of speakers allowed, so don’t get shut out. Bring only yourself, and perhaps one other person, as outlined below. Learn the typical format of the meetings.
- If legislation has been passed, and its text begins along the lines of: “No person shall propel themselves…”then this is a modification of an old “toy- vehicle law” that has been extended to cover inline skates. This is inappropriate, for several reasons. First, inline skates are not toys, but equipment suitable for personal transportation, exercise, and recreation. Our organization pushes the grouping and classification of inline skates with bicycles. We try to avoid classifications with skate boarding, because of their anti-establishment reputation and almost exclusive youth membership.
- City councils are also responsible for passing legislation that is “least restrictive” yet solves the perceived problem. The council can be forced to demonstrate this. However, never be antagonistic with your council: they represent your community and are your friends. They will help you if you are positive, rational, and polite.
- Speak as a representative of your local skating group. Mention your membership numbers, if available, and any prominent and supporting members in group (get permission first). You also represent the IISA as our speaker. You may distribute any promotional information or data we send you, in our name. As our representative, communicate our dedication to promoting inline skating for all communities. We feel it is a safe form of transportation, exercise, and recreation. Our sport’s record shows that it is a safe activity on public roadways — and a growing American institution. Like the bicycle, it is here to stay. Please refer to our credo, if you need any additional background on our organization.
- If the council is open to suggestions for new legislation, volunteer the included copy of Minneapolis’ inline regulation, which we endorse. It is a rational law, and is working well in a large city. Minneapolis has one of the largest and most active inline skating populations in the country, and it receives support from various local agencies. It also has an excellent safety record.
- Please update us regularly with copies of your local regulations, correspondences, problems, and overall situation. We will try to help you any way we can
My name is Anson Nakamura and I have been inline skating for fun for 18 years. My friends and I skate at our local skate park and we just love to skate. I have been a big fan of the sport since I was a little kid. I started with a pair of Rollerblades that I got from a garage sale. I was terrible at first, but I kept at it and eventually I got pretty good. Now, I can do all sorts of tricks and I love skating more than ever. There's nothing quite like the feeling of cruising around on your skates, wind in your hair. f you've never tried skating, I urge you to give it a go. It's an incredible feeling and you might just get hooked like I did.