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City stresses safety after child’s accident

Community: Injury prompts authorities to emphasize skatepark rules

Posted: January 26, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: January 26, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Alex Martin, 15, of Valencia, performs a Briflip Tailwhip on his scooter at Santa Clarita Skatepark in Santa Clarita on Tuesday.

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City officials are stressing safety rules at the Santa Clarita Skatepark after a 12-year-old boy was injured at the park last weekend.

The boy suffered an injury on his bicycle and was knocked out after a crash on Sunday afternoon, according to fire officials.

The boy was transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital by ground ambulance.

Stephanie English, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokeswoman, said the firefighters who were on scene reported the boy did not appear to be wearing a helmet. Information on the boy’s condition was unavailable Wednesday.

A list of rules for the skate park is posted in numerous locations at the park, but one of the most important rules is that minors need to wear helmets, elbow pads and knee pads, said Doug Botton, recreation administrator at the city of Santa Clarita’s sports complex. The requirement for safety equipment for children under 18 is part of the city’s municipal code, as well as state law.

“The rule is that anything with wheels anywhere outside your backyard, you need to wear a helmet if you’re a minor,” said Botton.

Botton said the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department has stepped up enforcement of  the safety equipment rules during the past two weeks. Sheriff’s deputies found about a dozen teenagers last week who weren’t wearing helmets, and the teens received stern warnings, he said.

The city is released from liability at the skate park because skateboarding, BMX bicycling, scooter riding and rollerskating are termed hazardous recreational activities, and signs are posted around the park with that information, city officials said.

“Because of the laws, we do not have city employees at the park enforcing the rules,” said city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz. “We do everything we can to encourage kids to wear the protective gear.”

For a complete list of rules and more information about the skate park, visit http://www.scskatepark.com.

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