Saving heads

Carla Allen
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The absence of an important item was blatantly obvious at the opening of the new Yarmouth skatepark last month. The vast majority of youths whizzing down and around the cement slopes and bowls were not wearing helmets.

Helmets appeared to be rare for youths at the official opening of Yarmouth’s skateboard park last month

A study by the Canadian Institute for Health says that 30 per cent of brain injuries in Canada are suffered by children and youth – many of them happen while participating in sports and other recreational activities.

njuries to the arms, legs, neck and trunk can range from bruises and abrasions to sprains and strains, fractures and dislocations. Wrist fractures are quite common. Facial injuries include breaking your nose and jawbone

Severe injuries include concussion, closed head injury and blunt head trauma.

Youths can suffer permanent impairment or even death if they fall off the skateboard and strike their head without a helmet. Most brain injuries happen when the head hits pavement.

Skateboarding youths may not be aware that they are breaking a Yarmouth bylaw that could result in a summary offence fine of $227.41.

Bylaw No. 44 (helmet bylaw) states that no person shall ride on a skateboard or skate on in-line skates in, on, or near a public place or a place that is open to the public, in the Town of Yarmouth, unless that person is wearing a helmet that complies with the Bicycle Helmet Regulations. Every person who violates a provision of this bylaw is guilty of an offence.

Mayor Pam Mood says interim signs advising that helmets are required have been posted until spring when permanent ones will replace them.




She believes it is a matter of enforcing the laws.

“I’ve spoken with the group of people involved and I think the best way to handle it is to encourage them to police themselves and have the leaders step up to set the example. The bylaw is there and yes, needs to be enforced, but will be next to impossible all the time,” she said.

Frank Grant, director of Yarmouth Recreation, doesn’t pull any punches on the issue.

“Parents have to have a major role in this rather than the RCMP,” he said.

“You wouldn’t send your kid to play in a basketball game wearing dress shoes.”

He added that funding for helmets and knee and elbow pads for skateboarders under 16 may be available through the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program.

Contact Yarmouth Recreation for more information at 902-742-8868.

Emergency Health Services is also providing 20 helmets for the Yarmouth skatepark, available through Yarmouth Recreation.

As part of a provincial program, in partnership with Child Safety Link, the IWK Health Centre has developed helmet resources, which are located on their website.



Organizations: Canadian Institute for Health, RCMP, Health Services IWK Health Centre

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Cheryl Grant
    January 16, 2013 - 18:34

    I am not a skateboarder, however I can certainly appreciate the skills and practice necessary to master this sport. This park is not just a place for these kids to hone their skills, it is an investment in our youth and our town. It gets these kids outside using their bodies for physical activity instead of being in their rooms on their computer or watching tv. As for the helmet a perfect world, yes, all these skateboarders would wear all the protective equipment they need to keep them safe, but that's probably not going to happen all the time, so lets take a breath here and use some common sense....if we chase these kids around to give them $227 fines, then we are going to chase them right out of the park. The parents need to take some action here and educate their kids....fines and police are not always the answer. Individuals and parents need to take responsibility, its not always up to the town, nor the police, nor by-laws to govern common sense. I hope these skateboarders have a great (and safe) time in the park!

  • Stephen Charchuk
    January 16, 2013 - 15:04

    Thanks for proving my point. Remember they're not wearing any safety gear as REQUIRED by law. This site is only suited to a very few while the money could have been used more productively to fit a bigger variety of people.

  • Robert Younker
    January 16, 2013 - 09:48

    Stephen's comment is not surprising as many would prefer to sit back and judge others rather than learn an appreciate the intracies of a sport that is growing in popularity every year. Parks like this one in Yarmouth give kids a safer place to practice an athletic endeavour that they enjoy and is far more positive than having them locked up in their rooms playing video games. To me, this is tax dollars at work to benefit the future generations and is money very well spent. The numbers using these parks is evidence of that.

  • Neil MacKenzie
    January 16, 2013 - 09:27

    The suggestion the Skateboarding is not a "Sport" to me sounds just as rediculous as to say Hockey isn't a sport. The later sure gets more support, funding and resources. Skateboarding is a sport. Skateboarding isn't a crime. Has anyone heard of the X-Games? Skateboarding is even being considered as an Olympic sport. People skateboard all over the world. Someone who suggests skateboarding is not a sport obviously never skateboarded because if they had they'd realize how poor his choice of words are. This sport requires, no extensive organization, volunteers or money and a lot of practice. It also gets kids out side and is no where near as expensive as ice time, travel and equipment for hockey. I love hockey too btw. The only issue I've seen so far is that the kids aren't wearing helmets. This is fixable and I believe it will get resolved, through enforcement and education. Perhaps someone should try to skate before dismissing it.

  • Stephen Charchuk
    January 15, 2013 - 19:52

    This is not surprising since one has to be already brain damaged to be in this "sport". Wasted tax dollars at work for just a few non-tax payers......