Let's get ready to roll - Dangers in roller skating
With the first sunshine of spring, many people are itching to dig out their skates. Strap on the skates and get rolling - inline skating is both a popular leisure activity and a serious sport for speed or halfpipe enthusiasts. Most skaters have first hand experience that the popular sport is not without its hazards. A sudden obstacle, rough terrain or the wrong material may quickly bring you down, resulting in unpleasant injuries. Yet many injuries can be prevented with the right material, good training and a healthy dose of care. While most skaters are basically aware of this, many are unfamiliar with what really counts. TÜV Product Service, TÜV SÜD Group, therefore provides skating tips.
Safe skating starts with buying the right boots
Anyone interested in inline skating is spoilt for choice: soft boots or hard plastic boots, four or five wheels, hard or soft wheels, laces or buckles - what features are important for safe shoes? First of all, consider that you may pay dearly for being a cheapskate when it comes to equipment; in the majority of cases, low-end inline skates cannot be recommended. The reason: cost-saving manufacturing often results in imprecise workmanship, and thus sluggish or rough skating dynamics. This causes particular problems for beginners. Parents of children who usually grow out of their shoes far too fast, therefore, should avoid making a price-based purchasing decision. Generally speaking, there are skates available in all price categories that meet the safety standards.
Tip: skates that can be adjusted to accommodate multiple sizes
As a matter of principle, skating boots must fit well, i.e. exactly and firmly without causing bruises. As far as safety is concerned, skaters should best look out for the TÜV Product Service certification mark (blue octagon).
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The overview explains other important aspects
· Leisure skaters should beware of excessively hard wheels. Softer wheels offer better shock absorption and grip, thus helping to prevent skidding on smooth surfaces during curving.
· Brake pads should not be too hard either. Rubber mixtures especially developed for stoppers offer the best braking characteristics.
· Boots should have a hard cuff to provide extra foothold and prevent twisted ankles. A sturdy cuff also increases the pressure acting on the brake pads during braking.
· Four-wheel skates are perfect for novices as they are easy to turn and make skating simpler. Professional skaters can switch to five wheels if desired. So-called speed skates run faster but are not as maneuverable.
· The right annular bearings are equally important: Ratings ABEC 1 to 5 stand for smooth running. Bearings should be selected according to the skater's skill level, from ABEC 1 for beginners to ABEC 5 for high-speed professionals.
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Save your skin - pad yourself up
Once you've selected the right boots, you also need protective gear. Pads for hands, elbows and knees and a safety helmet are a must on every ride. Protective gear also should always be distinguished by TÜV mark/GS mark.
Protective gear must provide a snug fit without cutting into the skin. If you find a set where the knee pads fit while the elbow pads are too wide, ask the sales assistant for another size. And like it or not, pads and safety helmet should be replaced if they have been involved in a serious crash. Even if your protective gear fits perfectly, here’s one more important piece of advice: skaters should put on their protective gear before strapping on their skates, because skidding from a standing position frequently results in bad injuries at the outset.
Before finally starting on tarmac with your new equipment, we recommend joining a training course: after all, the right way to fall, brake and corner is practised most effectively in one of the training courses offered by experienced providers. Now you have good equipment and good training, there’s only one more thing to be done: skate carefully!