LAGUNA BEACH, California  –  Skateboarders not wearing helmets may end up walking home now that a new city ordinance allows police to confiscate their board if they are caught without one.

Last night the Laguna Beach City Council made a radical decision to approve the new law in an effort to cut down on juvenile law breakers as an alternative to fining them $25 and requiring them to complete a counseling program. State laws fine those without a helmet $280.

Under the new city law, which does not apply to bicycle riders, police could take away a skateboard from a juvenile riding without their helmet and hold it for up to a month until the minor returns with a parent to claim it back. The city has implemented strict policies in the past including requiring people of all ages who skateboard to wear a helmet in contrast to state law that only requires minors to wear them.

Laguna Beach has been a popular haven for downhill skateboard enthusiasts from elementary school students to adults. Local skateboard companies offer sponsorships to some of the best skateboarders creating an incentive for amateurs to hone their skills for a chance to be on company teams.

However, the city has already cracked down on the sport with laws in 2011 by banning the activity on eight steep roadways, imposing speed limits, prohibiting acrobatics and outlawing the practice of weaving across traffic lanes. This year complaints led to the ban extending to Skyline Drive as complaints about skateboarders continued.

“While it may not be a popular ordinance, Laguna Beach has made a decision that will hopefully save lives and cut down on serious injuries typical in the sport such as concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury and closed head injuries,” said Attorney West Thomas, founder of the Thomas Law Firm. “Indeed, last year 11 people were killed in skateboard accidents with vehicles in California and some of them were not wearing helmets.”

Skateboarding Accident Statistics

In the United States, there were 14,783 children aged 14 years and younger that were taken to emergency rooms with head injuries while engaging in skateboarding in 2009, according to the to an American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) report.

Also, skateboarding ranks fifth in the top 10 sports-related activities leading to head injuries for children ages 14 years old and younger. The top four sports leading to head injuries in these children were cycling (40,272 injuries), football (21,878 injuries), baseball and softball (18,246) and basketball (14,052 injuries).

Additionally, according to the 2011 USA Skateboarding Fatality Report conducted by Skaters for Public Skateparks, Inc. (SPS) there were 43 reported deaths of skateboarders in the United States in 2011 including 11 in California, four in Texas and three in Virginia. The study showed that only one skateboarder was killed at a skateboard park and the other 40 were in public streets including 30 involving vehicles.

This article was sponsored by the Thomas Law Firm. Our attorneys offer a free consultation for prospective clients who have been injured or have lost a loved one in a crash. Call 1-855-ASK–WEST (1-855-275-9378) to speak with an attorney.

For over 30 years, the firm has been a staunch advocate for victims’ rights and has fought to win justice for clients involved in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including premises liability, product liability, auto accidents, dog bites, nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, at-work injuries and more.  The firm has offices in Irvine, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

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