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Are helmets the law for scooters/skateboards?

Original post made by Mom, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2008

I wanted to bring attention to the subject of helmets, after reading the previous post about bicycle safety. About 2 weeks ago, in San Ramon again, a boy was critically injured in a neighborhood after falling off of his skateboard- he was not wearing a helmet. My teenage son loves to skateboard and scooter and I have recently given in to his pleas to let him do it without a helmet. He is 15 years old and insists it is not the law, only for bicycles. When I take him to the local skateparks, I would guess only 10% are wearing helmets, and they are the younger kids. Are helmets required for skateboards and scooters?? I KNOW the smart thing to do is to wear a are completely surrounded by concrete when participating in these sports. But is it the LAW? If it is, why are the police not patrolling the skateparks? I would like to see it be the law, if it is not already. And I would like to see the police officers make an occassional stop at the skateparks and hand out some citations. I believe it's one of those things that as soon as a few of the teenagers get a ticket and start wearing helmets, they will all (or most) put on a helmet and it will just be "normal". Right now, you look like a fool if you are over 12 and wearing a helmet, because nobody is wearing one. Also, I'm afraid that if something doesn't change, we are going to lose one of these kids to a head injury and THEN the police might start paying attention. Let's get helmets on these kids BEFORE a tragedy occurs.

Comments (16)

Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 24, 2008 at 9:25 pm

The police and a law don't substitute for lack of parent's influence and control over their 15 year old son. I know it ain't easy, but it's your job. You and your husband are his enablers.

Take my response as offered to be meant constructive. Your post radiates the message that your kid controls and influences you more than you do him and you are looking for external forces to help to solve your problem for you.

He crashes and ends up brain dead will be something you will need to live with.

Maybe some other posters can help with advice that worked for them.

Personally, I can't imagine police resources allocated to this because in your own words you have "recently given in to his pleas".

Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2008 at 12:52 am

Have you ever heard the saying "it takes a village"? I'm looking for a little help here and I welcome constructive input. I WANT my teenager in a helmet everytime he goes out on his board, but I am not having much luck on my own, so I implore others to get on board with this helmet thing. Your post is judgemental and I find it totally unhelpful, but thanks for trying. Frank- you mention my husband and I will let you know that my husband passed away 2 years ago and I am doing this on my own. Yes, I need some "external forces" to help. I am on this forum writing because I am a pro-active parent who cares. My son is not running the show, you can rest assured of that.
I agree, as a parent, I ultimately make the rules, but lets face it- he makes his own decisions. Have you ever had a 15 year old? I am not looking for opinions on my parenting style, but rather an answer to my question. Does anyone know if it is a law that the kids wear helmets when skateboarding/scootering? If it is indeed the law, then I would love to see our "village" get on board with supporting and enforcing the law, including the police (AKA "law enforcement").

Posted by Dad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2008 at 7:18 am


You say "then I would love to see our village". Love your Son, take away his skateboard. You are not looking for opinions on your parenting style? Here's some advice, you are on the defensive Mom. Get some help. Any answer, from this forum, would do you no good. Your not there yet.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 25, 2008 at 8:29 am

Well, you're in luck. The CA State law does include scooters and skateboards.

From Web Link

21212. (a) A person under 18 years of age shall not operate a bicycle, a nonmotorized scooter, or a skateboard, nor shall they wear in-line or roller skates, nor ride upon a bicycle, a nonmotorized scooter, or a skateboard as a passenger, upon a street, bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public bicycle path or trail unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards of either the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), or standards subsequently established by those entities.

But I agree with the other posters here and think your talk about the law and the police is misdirected. The law isn't going to prevent your teen from not using a helmet (yay for nanny government). Even if an officer visits the skatepark and hands out tickets or warnings every once in a while, he and the other kids will find ways around it. You wrote: "Also, I'm afraid that if something doesn't change, we are going to lose one of these kids to a head injury and THEN the police might start paying attention. " It isn't the police who "might start paying attention", but the parents of the kids who aren't wearing helmets! You want the village to raise your kid, how about raising the issue with these parents, not the police? Go hang out at the skatepark and ask those kids to put their helmets on.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2008 at 11:22 am

Yay! A definitive answer to my question!
Parents- let's get helmets on these kids, even the teens! I know my kid will not go out without one. If they see their friends doing it, maybe they won't feel like oddballs!
And Pleasanton Police- let's make occassional stops at the skate park in the afternoons and see if we can't get these kids to put on their helmets!
We can all make a difference and maybe save someone some heartache!

Posted by Tracy
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 25, 2008 at 2:24 pm

For what it's worth, the police do patrol the dublin skatepark. You rarely ever see a kid there without a helmet, even the older kids. My son has confirmed that his friends know to bring their helmets to dublin, but not worried about val vista.

Posted by Section 8
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 26, 2008 at 7:40 am

to Mom...

Your comments are a complete waste of time!! I want the time i just wasted reading your comments back!! YOU should be telling YOUR son what he needs to do...not because it's the LAW....but because you are the parent and care for his safety!!! I bet you will be the first one to fight/complain when your son comes home with a say...$150 fine for not wearing his helmet. I like the saying Smokey the bear says...."Only you can prevent forest fires!" well the same goes for the way you raise your kid. 15 or are still the parent and still responsible for them.

Posted by is the law explicit?
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 26, 2008 at 11:48 am

"... upon a street, bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public bicycle path or trail..."
unfortunately, I'm not sure if skateparks are included in this law. one will have to look up section 890.4 to see the definition. if it doesn't include skateparks, i can see writing to your local assembly person as a way to get legislation to include skateparks. **notice how i didn't say one should petition for a referendum to the law.*** :)

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Someone noticed the 'caveat' so here's the text from the California Streets and Highway code. Web Link

890.4. As used in this article, "bikeway" means all facilities that
provide primarily for bicycle travel. For purposes of this article,
bikeways shall be categorized as follows:
(a) Class I bikeways, such as a "bike path," which provide a
completely separated right-of-way designated for the exclusive use of
bicycles and pedestrians with crossflows by motorists minimized.
(b) Class II bikeways, such as a "bike lane," which provide a
restricted right-of-way designated for the exclusive or semiexclusive
use of bicycles with through travel by motor vehicles or pedestrians
prohibited, but with vehicle parking and crossflows by pedestrians
and motorists permitted.
(c) Class III bikeways, such as an onstreet or offstreet "bike
route," which provide a right-of-way designated by signs or permanent
markings and shared with pedestrians or motorists.

Suggestions: Mom should go to the skatepark while her son is there and watch. She should also show up unannounced sometimes to check up on him. She should be embarrassing and uncool and tell the other kids there to wear helmets too if her son doesn't comply. Parents don't have any obligation to be cool in public for their kids when their kids' health is at risk. Mom could also try skateboarding with her son with a helmet to set a good example or without a helmet to make a point. Or do as another poster suggested and take the skateboard away.

The police are not babysitters. The law is not the parent.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Teens hate nothing more than to be embarrassed in front of their friends by their parents.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Here's from the Pleasanton Municipal Code

13.08.145 Required Riding Equipment In In-Line Skateparks And Skateboard Parks:

It is unlawful for a person to ride a skateboard or a nonmotorized scooter, or to use in-line skates, in an in-line skatepark or skateboard park unless the person is wearing a helmet that meets the standards specified in section 21212(a) of the California Vehicle Code, elbow pads and kneepads, all which shall be properly fitted and fastened, and where the skateboard park has a sign posted which provides that anyone in-line skating or riding a skateboard in the park must wear a helmet, elbow pads and kneepads or be subject to a citation. (Ord. 1924 § 1, 2005; Ord. 1654 § 2, 1995)

Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 26, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Skateboards today, but the 16 year birthday is just months away. Will Mom and Dad "give in to his pleas" and buy him a car when he turns 16? After all, this is Pleasanton and we are in the year 2008 whereby teenagers feel they are entitled to receive cars from their parents. Will our guy be kept safe by the police because there are many traffic laws and the police ARE actively out there enforcing them? Do we believe that "as soon as a few of the teenagers get a ticket" our guy will take notice and will be a safe driver?

This whole post started on the premise stated by the post's initiator that laws and police enforcing them may manage the behavior of young teenage boys to keep them safe. Has this worked with driving cars?

Posted by PToWN94566
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Mar 26, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Geez people, the lady didn't ask whether her parenting skills are up to par or not. I would personally leave that topic alone. She asked about helmet laws- I think we should just answer the question and leave it at that.

Let me add- she is human as are the rest of us on here. We all make mistakes, good or bad, which is how we learn. I'm sure she'll take all of your positive suggestion in a good manner. Best of luck "Mom".

Posted by Lyndalu
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 29, 2008 at 6:15 pm

I'm in the exact same situation you are in. My son is 15 and absolutely will NOT wear a helmet when skateboarding. The people who are saying that it's the parent's responsibility to make their kids wear a helmet sound like people who don't have kids. I've tried everything including taking away the skateboard but he either buys another one or uses one of his friends. I work during the day so there's not much I can do but pray for his safety. Just wanted you to know that I can completely relate to your situation and I'm glad to hear there is a helmet law. Hopefully my son will get stopped by an officer one day and that may scare him enough.

Posted by teen mom
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 1, 2008 at 10:05 pm

It has been driving me nuts around town how many kids are biking, scootering, skateboarding without helmets in the past few years. Both my teen kids (13 and 15) where helmets and I stop their friends on the street to yell out, "You only have one brain. Where's your helmet?" I just tonight saw 3 adolescents (a girl and 2 boys) skateboarding at the busy corner of Santa Rita and Valley at rush hour without any helmets on!!

I do blame the parents for not be strong in their requirements of their kids to wear their helmets, but I would also like to see the police make a bigger show of stopping a few kids in visible areas to make a statement on the LAW of helmet-wearing. Younger and younger kids have quit wearing helmets. One boy "long boarded" down my street, fell in front of my house, ripped his arm to the bone, but his head concussion was worse than his arm cut---no helmet. And I still see him skateboarding around town w/o a helmet!

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 7, 2008 at 11:05 am

Lyndalu...why not just report your kids to the police? If your bird brain kids don't wear protective, what kind of a parent are you?

The law is the law! Get rid of the scateboard, trash it!

How come parents in Pleasanton can't do more to protect their kids from injury? I don't understand all this whining about they control you?

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