Proposed law targets teen skateboarders

Helmets

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Kids who ride in a car must buckle up. Keiki who hop on a bike must also “Click It or Ticket” by wearing a helmet. The same could go for those stepping onto a skateboard.

“It raises awareness. Every time you have a policy, it makes people think, ‘Hey, should I be wearing a helmet?,'” City Council Parks Chairman Joey Manahan said.

Councilman Manahan is proposing Bill 30 which would require the use of helmet while skateboarding at any city skate park.

It’s a move he says is personal after losing a good friend who was killed while skateboarding without a helmet.

KHON2 wanted to know would that be an option to expand to city streets?

“That is something we are considering and I’m having a bill drafted. And when I introduce this bill, I said we might as well have the broader conversation to see how it would impact people riding on city streets,” Councilman Manahan said.

Attorney Rick Fried has seen far too many cases involving injuries to those not wearing helmets.

“Head injuries that can occur from these are life-changing in a split second,” Fried said.

“It’s for impact protection. It’s designed when you take an impact and keep your brain from rattling around basically,” the Bike Shop employee Bill Lezzer said.

The bill aims to increase safety but how will it be enforced?

“I couldn’t really see someone coming here to the skate park for tickets,” skateboarder Guy Smoak said.

For Hawaii’s bike helmet law, anyone under 16 must wear one or their parent faces a $25 fine. However, in 2012, Honolulu police gave out only two citations.

So it raises the question, is that law even before enforced?

“I think enforcement is going to be key. It’s going to be difficult to enforce any law that we put on the books,” Manahan said.

HPD says officers have the discretion to warn or cite and would be able to get the information they needed from a child or to track down their parents.

“I think it’s probably a case of priorities. We’re more concerned with assaults and murders than something like this and only so many hours in a day,” Fried said.

Bill 30 will be heard by the City Council on June 5.

KHON2 will follow-up to see if the bill moves forward.

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