Bill could force skateboarders to wear helmets

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Jun 03 2013 07:03:25 PM HST

One lawmaker calls it a way to save lives, but plenty of kids see it otherwise. We're talking about a new proposal from the Honolulu council that could force skateboarders to wear helmets.

HONOLULU -

One lawmaker calls it a way to save lives, but plenty of skateboarders see it otherwise. A new proposal from the City Council could force skateboarders to wear helmets.

For a lot of teenagers, skateboarding is a thrilling sport, but one bad move and it can turn downright dangerous.

"Sometimes I fall and hit my head, and if my helmet wasn't on then I would do serious damage to my head," said skateboarder Jake Heyer.

That's why Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan is introducing two bills to protect skateboarders. One would force them to wear helmets in skateboarding parks. The other would require wear a helmet in all public areas. The reviews are mixed.

Skateboarder Isiah Timoteo said, "I would not ride," when asked about how he felt about the potential law.

However, Mason Heyer said, "My grandma, she helps impaired kids that have brain damage from falling on their heads, so my mom's really serious about me wearing a helmet."

Manahan said he was a skateboarder himself, and looking back he feels should have been wearing a helmet when at times, he wasn't. He's pushing the helmet laws, because of recent skateboarding fatalities.

"We've had a few accidents in the last few years. I think major ones, a couple fatalities actually. A most recent one in Hawaii Kai, and maybe a year or two before of Kameron Steinhoff, which is very notable," said Joey Manahan, Honolulu city councilman.

With the sport gaining rapid popularity, Manahan said now is the time to have a helmet law. He also wants to look at how the potential helmet laws could broaden to other vehicles.

"It's not meant to target skateboarders, but I wanted to have the conversation and I want to see how that would apply to other things such as bicycling, maybe other things later on," said Manahan.

The consequences for not wearing a helmet would be $25 to $250. The earliest the law could take effect would be in August.  

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