ROLL WITH IT: Skaters at Coffs Harbour show not all helmets are fail-proof.
ROLL WITH IT: Skaters at Coffs Harbour show not all helmets are fail-proof. David Barwell

Proposed skating laws sparks mixed response

PLANS by the State Government to introduce laws requiring scooter and skateboard riders to wear helmets has drawn a mix response on the Coffs Coast.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay has launched an investigation into rules surrounding protective gear, following the death of five scooter riders and skateboarders involved in collisions with cars last year.

Currently, there is no legislation requiring riders to wear a helmet, despite it being recommended under Australian standards.

Local resident Dylan Maude sustained injuries in a recent accident at Coffs Harbour Skate Park while not wearing a helmet, and now wears protective gear each time he visits the park.

He said stronger helmet laws could improve safety - especially for young people and beginners.

"I had an accident - I had no helmet on and got knocked to the ground," he said.

"Because of that I knocked a tooth out and had to have four stitches.

"It's not about whether a helmet looks good - it can save you."

Skaters at Coffs Harbour.
Skaters at Coffs Harbour. Liam Butler

Other skaters at the park told The Advocate helmets didn't always protect against injuries with one skater saying he suffered a seizure after being knocked to the ground, despite wearing a helmet at the time.

Another skater said the laws would be difficult to police and wouldn't protect against more common leg and body injuries.

The proposed laws follow the introduction of stronger cycling regulations, announced by Mr Gay last December.

It included $319 fines for cyclists not wearing a helmet, and also required cyclists to carry ID cards.

Mr Gay refuted suggestions the laws were about increasing revenue to the State Government.

"I don't want to bring in more laws, I just want people to do the sensible thing and wear a helmet," he said.

"Given how dangerous it is to ride these toys on a road, not wearing a helmet is downright stupid."

The review of the laws is being conducted by the Centre for Road Safety and also involves a probe of helmet standards.

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