Safety warning for skatepark users
NO HELMET, no skate park... that's the message for youngsters using the most recent addition to Ipswich riverside.Tina Wiles, head of the Ipswich Skate Appeal has clamped down on skaters and bikers using the Stoke Bridge park without wearing helmets.
NO HELMET, no skate park... that's the message for youngsters using the most recent addition to Ipswich riverside.
Tina Wiles, head of the Ipswich Skate Appeal has clamped down on skaters and bikers using the Stoke Bridge park without wearing helmets.
She also wants parents to join her crusade and make sure their children are fully kitted out with safety wear before they are allowed to use the park.
The Star reported last month how three boys broke their arms skateboarding and had to be admitted to hospital after saying they rode a halfpipe before the park opened.
Since opening on Sunday, more than 1,000 people have used the park, with youngsters taking advantage of the new jumps and half pipes from 6am until 10pm most days.
Out of that number of youngsters keen to practice BMX tricks and skateboarding, there have been just four minor accidents.
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One of those resulted in a youngster receiving head injuries, which prompted Ms Wiles to reinforce the park rules by asking all those on the park without helmets to leave.
Ms Wiles, from Heath Road, Ipswich said: "We are working extremely hard to get kids to wear helmets.
"A lot of the responsibility should be on parents."
Volunteer park leaders are available most of the time, but as with all other outdoor parks of this kind it is relatively unsupervised.
Ms Wiles said: "There are park rules and one of these is that people must wear helmets. We need to make sure that parents uphold those rules as it is a lot of the much younger ones that are not wearing helmets."
The park rules also state that children under the age of ten should be accompanied by an adult.
Ms Wiles said: "There are a few parents down there but we want to see a lot more."
It is hoped that eventually money will be available for paid supervisors on the park but until then it will still fall to the 20 volunteers that mainly comprises of the older, adult skaters and bikers.
However the site will be closely monitored to make sure that youngsters are abiding by the rules.
Ms Wiles said: "The younger ones do try and copy the older ones and they can show them what to do safely. The older ones are also teaching the younger ones the ethics of the park – these are things that younger ones don't know"
The park has only been open for a few days and there is still a long way to go until the appeal members have it exactly how they want it.
Eventually it is hoped that there will be specified hours where younger skaters can go without the older ones being around.
Concerns had been expressed about access to the site across Stoke Bridge, but Ms Wiles said that it is hoped a crossing will be installed in the next few weeks.
She said: "I have been down every day and the kids love it down there. We have waited for this for so long."