Small Wheels Safety

Scooters, skateboards and in-line skates – while all great sources of fun – put your children into the same, potentially dangerous environment as cars, pedestrians and cyclists. That's why it is important to educate them on how to safely use this equipment. In addition, in-line skaters take up a wider road width as they travel on walkways or in traffic. Small wheels riders must use common sense and follow road safety rules as you would as a pedestrian or on a bike. However, remember that small wheels and no brakes present new dangers for young rollers.

Small wheel safety

  • Use scooter, skateboard or in-line skates only where it's safe and legal, on designated roadways, in parks, and on bicycle paths.
  • Don’t scooter, skateboard or in-line skate after dark.
  • Avoid rough or slippery surfaces.
  • Pass pedestrians, cyclists and other skaters on the left.
  • Know the hazards at intersections, driveways, lanes and alleys. Always stop before crossing, scan by looking left-right-left.
  • Never hitch a ride holding onto a vehicle, bus or bicycle.
  • Use caution when going downhill. Walk, don't ride, down a steep hill.

Small wheel FAQs

Q. Why does a skateboarder or in-line skate user require a different helmet to that of a cyclist?

A. In a crash a bicyclist is more likely to pitch forward over the handlebars but other small wheels users are more likely to fall backwards, so a different style of helmet that better protects the back of the head is recommended.

Q. What do I need to know about helmet use for skating or rolling?

A. Helmet meets Snell, ASTM or CSA standards, and fits properly. It is also recommended that the helmet be specifically designed for in-line skating to provide more protection for the back of the head. Skaters tend to fall backward and cyclists tend to fall forward, so the helmets are different.
A. Helmet is secured squarely on the top of the head — not slanting forward or backward.

Q. What to wear to protect arms, knees and elbows?

A. Wrist guards distribute the forces of impact during a slide, reducing injury. When falling, try to fall forward and keep hands in front of when skating.
A. Knee and elbow pads distribute the impact of the fall much like wrist guards, allowing for a safer slide. If starting to fall, drop to knees and hold hands out in front.

Q. What else should I know about safe wheeling and rolling?

A. Is the scooter, skateboard or pair of in-line skates in good condition? Look for:

  • loose, broken or cracked parts;
  • sharp edges;
  • slippery top surface;
  • wheels with nicks and cracks.

Defects should be corrected by a qualified repair person.

Q. How can I be sure my children will make safe choices on their scooters, skateboards or skates?

A. Before your children begin using scooters, skateboards or in-line skates for transportation, they should be trained to use them properly. They should be able to control speed and turns, know how to brake and stop quickly, and be prepared to fall. Check with the recreation facility in your community to find out where children can learn to skate or scoot. If no courses are available, ask a good skater for some basic tips.