Safety tips for CITY SKATINGon 15/09/2008, 10:14.
If you live in a busy city you probably have been hit by a car, hit a car, almost gotten hit, had your board run over or maybe you are just lucky.
There is nothing better than some good old sidewalk surfing, pedestrian slalom, dodging trash, accelerating off curbs, whatever the city has to offer. Here are some tips to help you stay a bit safer.
JUDGE YOUR SKILL LEVEL
If you are going to be skating through a city you should KNOW how to footbrake and have a good solid push. If you donâ€™t have these skills STOP, do not attempt skating through a city. I have seen people lose control of their boards and smack a pedestrian right in the ankle. This is no good. Also, losing balance and getting hit by a car does not sound like a good way to enjoy the day.
JUDGE YOUR CITY
Every city has a different skating style. For example, in NYC it has a much more aggressive skate style (ever play frogger?). There are so many people on the sidewalks so you take to the street and battle the cars. It almost feels as if all the aggressiveness from the NYC drivers transfers to your head and you skate as aggressive as they drive. The cars go much slower in NYC compared to LA so you can get away with it, but you still need heightened awareness of cabs, pedestrians, buses, potholes, oil slicks and wheel eating grates. In Los Angeles the cars fly and people like to drive their fancy sports cars fast to impress the ladies. Skating in the road can be dangerous, so use your judgement and stick to the sidewalks, bike lanes or parking garages in most instances.
CRACKS AND NASTY BUMPS
Watch out for those nasty cracks or sidewalks with a huge lips. Hit the nasty lips and cracks at an angle and you will be better off. Also, learn to Crack Hop (as you come up to an obstacle, throw your board forward into the lip or crack and leap up and over the crack, landing on the board on the far side of the obstacle).
This is where I believe most accidents can happen--when you come to an intersection and the driver does not see you and pulls out in front of you. Make sure you get the driverâ€™s attention. Clap your hands loudly, yell a bit, whistle, have fun with it but make sure you know the car sees you before you skate in front of it.
HOW TO DEAL WITH ANGRY DRIVERS
You are bound to piss off someone when skating through the city. The best way to handle an angry driver is by NOT giving them THE FINGER. That really has no style my friends. The best thing you can do is smile and wave. This will likely piss them off more, hahah or confuse them.
Sometimes the drivers like to aim for you. If you encounter this feel free to unleash your ninja skills.
Skating with confidence can keep you safe. Getting nervous will make you more prone to lose balance and do something stupid. Take up the room you need when skating and allow the cars to go around. For example watch any series biker and how he takes up as much of the lane as he needs. Skaters should do the same.
DONâ€™T SHOW OFF AT BAD TIMES
Yes, we all know going through the city we might see the pretty guy or girl, or a large crowd that we want to impress with our mad skills yo. Try to avoid doing this at busy intersections or bad moments. Because busting out the hard trick that you land 1 out of 10 times really does not pay off when you mess up and your board goes flying out into the road and gets hit by a car. Try to keep the fancy stuff for less busy and mellower areas.
BOARD SET UP
When city riding, you are going to need to be able to really maneuver. Having tight trucks can actually put you at risk--having a nice carvy set up is ideal. Obviously (with the right loose trucks), the shorter the wheelbase the easier it is to maneuver through a city. It is also not a bad idea to have 65mm or taller wheels. This will help you roll over all the crazy bumps you will come across.
And remember to eat green apples not the red, they will shield you from bad people and make you skate with grace.
Remember to skate smart and to skate aware and have fun thrashing through the cities.
Adam C. Louis P. Don T.