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Most injuries at skate park minor

Helmets and pads are required, but the skate park is not patrolled

Posted: June 19, 2009 8:09 p.m.
Updated: June 20, 2009 8:00 a.m.

Fifteen-year-old Michael Wilson, of Valencia, gets some air on his skateboard at the skate park in the Santa Clarita Sports Complex.

Almost three months after a well-attended grand opening, Santa Clarita's new skate park continues to remain popular with local youth and has seen a decrease injury calls.

"I thought we'd be there every day," said Capt. Doug Lipp of Los Angeles County Fire Station 104, the closest station to the park.

In the weeks since the opening, he said, emergency calls have tapered off, and he said most injuries have been minor.

The 40,000-square-foot park opened to much fanfare at the end of March, replacing a popular, decade-old 12,000-square-foot park.

Located next to the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center, the skate park is not monitored by city officials.

That is in line with state law pertaining to skate parks, Recreation Superintendent Toi Chisom said.

Posted at the entrance to the park is a large sign listing rules. Included in that list is a requirement that skaters or bicyclists wear helmets and knee- and elbow-pads - a state law for anyone under age 18.

"We meet the state law," she said. "It's a matter of making sure everyone is aware (of the rules)."

Compliance with the law gives the city immunity when it comes to what is classified by the state as a hazardous recreational activity, Chisom explained.

Safety enforcement is handled by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

Deputies make occasional patrols of the skate park, Sgt. Darren Harris said. It is up to the deputies whether to cite skaters who are not wearing the required protective gear.

He said deputies have issued both warnings and citations to offending skaters.

"We want to make sure kids are being safe," Harris said.

On Tuesday afternoon, a handful of skaters zipped back and forth across the concrete landscape of the park with nary a helmet in sight.

Chisom said recreation officials are developing a public education campaign regarding the helmet requirement.

"Some parents don't even know about the law," she said.

Another step toward a safer skate park, she said, is the pending introduction of "junior skate time" for skaters ages 12 and under. Younger, less-experienced skaters can tend to be intimated by older board-riders, Chisom said.

Prior to the park's opening, city officials said they'd already received interest in it from across the nation.

Chisom said in September the park will be the only California skate Park included in clothing company Volcom's Wild in the Parks skate park tour and competition.


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