Chicago never makes the lists of the world’s greatest skateboarding cities. Everyone says Barcelona, Berlin and Melbourne have us beat. Some say New York, but what if you want a decent hotdog?
Whatever they say, there are excellent places to skate here and more seem to emerge at a steady clip. Whether commuting to work or between Chicago’s major skating spots, please be savvy about keeping yourself safe.
More and more spots to skate around Chicagoland
Police-skater relations are always a little uneasy, but things have improved enormously in Chicago in the past couple of decades.
Maybe the $27 million Grant Skate Park and half a dozen other skate parks across the city lend skaters some legitimacy.
Certainly, in official materials that should be printed on t-shirts, the city clearly specifies that skaters are welcome on trails and neighborhood greenways. The Lakefront Trail only prohibits skating “while wearing headphones or under the influence of alcohol.”
How dangerous is skateboarding, really?
If you ride a skateboard, probably your parents or your children (or both) want you to quit, claiming that the habit is just too dangerous.
Yes, the U.S. did see about 8,700 injuries from skateboarding, either fatal or requiring hospitalization, in the most recent year of data.
But take another look.
About 6.5 million Americans skateboarded and 5.2 million played tackle football. (That alone is something to think about.) Meanwhile, emergency rooms treated about 125,000 skateboarders and 300,000 footballers.
Those are good odds. For every football-related trip to the emergency room, there were about 17 footballer players. For every skate-related trip, there were 52 skateboarders. Hey, at least you’re not hotdogging in the endzone.
Safety tips to keep you skating for decades
As you might expect, the National Safety Council has excellent safety tips for skateboarders.
They suggest a properly fitted multi-sport helmet meeting the skateboarding standard (Snell N-942 or ASTM F14922, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website). Get a new one as soon as yours has a cracked shell or crushed liner, and when the manufacturer says to.
A distressed-looking or customized deck makes it feel like you truly own it. But that does not mean you have to risk life and limb.
Do not make the deck slippery or let the wheels go cracked or nicked. Deal with any broken, cracked or loose parts the minute you notice them.
Wisely, the NSC even offers advice on how to fall. There is a right way and a wrong way to wipe out. You want to live to show off a skinned knee here and a cracked helmet there.
If you, or someone you know, was injured in a skateboarding accident, The Fakhouri Firm, LLC, is here to help. Contact us at 312-999-9990.