6th July 2001
A booklet providing guidelines
on areas such as these has been published by The Royal Society
for the Prevention of Accidents. Their recommendations are listed
below with our comments in white boxes.
The facility will be used by older children who can often present
problems for neighbours. Where possible, skateboard areas should
be away from playgrounds for very young children but still be
visible and capable of informal supervision. If a separate area
is not available they should be a safe (obviously visually separate_
distance. High profile sites will reduce the level of vandalism
If the facility is to be unsupervised, provision needs to be
made for informal observation by local authority staff in the
area, police, local residents, and passers by. CCTV may be useful
in some areas. Local police should be consulted and informed.
NB Planting may screen facilities when it matures.
The development of organised clubs for young riders should be
encouraged as part of sports, play and youth work programmes.
Resources may be required to start and sustain organisations.
|The matter of supervision is a major concern of
local residents. Whilst it seems that supervision may be provided
during the summer holidays, this is only a part of the problem.
There remains a large segment of the day - and night - when the
facility will inevitably be unattended. It is with this aspect
in mind that the location of the Skate Park becomes most relevant.
- Discourage skating/riding
to an from the facility
|Easier said than done, although local residents
would welcome an effective ban where the skaters are often seen
skating at speed on the pavements with little regard for pedestrians
of all ages. There are however only a certain number of users
who go to and from the Skate Park without due care and it is
these who ideally need reminding of their social responsibilities.
- Orientation should try
to avoid dazzle by low sun
|Vansittart is orientated almost exactly east-west.
The easterly aspect is of no importance, but in the evening the
setting sun will be straight in the skaters' eyes.
- Lighting may be useful
for evening use by skaters, but can cause problems to local residents
|There is currently no purpose lighting for the
- Skaters should be encouraged
to police and help train new users and discourage irresponsible
users, inappropriate use or vandalism
|We look forward to news of such an initiative.
|The gate to the skating area is a self closing
gate, but it is permanently secured open, and the latch mechanism
has been damaged.
- Child safety
Cover bare skin and
wear minimum protective gear. (Helmet, wrist, elbow, and knee
Children should be encouraged to:
Skate within their ability
Attend training courses
Never skate on roads, footpaths or near water
Never skate on their own
Tell someone where they are going
Look out for other users
Jump off equipment before they fall of (!)
check their equipment regularly
|Whilst much of this list is self-evident, it is
astonishing just how many children and teenagers ignore the most
basic safety precautions. On those occasions when signs have
been in place advising that the correct safety gear should be
worn, without supervision, the rules will be ignored.
- Signs should be provided
Use by one skater at a time (although this is unlikely to be
adhered to - design should allow for multi-use)
The requirement for protective clothing
Site ownerships with contact for faults
Dog ban emblem
Mis-use may result in a ban
Contact information for damage and repairs
|Temporary signs were displayed in late May but
they soon disappeared. They were plastic laminated paper, tied
to the fence with string, and were unlikely to survive very long.
- Consideration should be
Seating (outside the skating area)
Shelters and shaded areas
Bicycle racks (highly recommended)
First Aid facilities
|Of the above only three picnic tables and litter
bins have been provided as of July 6th. The picnic tables are
in the young children's area, and reports have been received
that teenagers have been aggressive and intimidating if asked
to move out of the children's area.
Within the area allocated
to the Skate Park at Vansittart Recreation Ground on the Goslar
Way side there is an stoney area where teenagers sit late into
the night, throwing and kicking mud and stones onto the ramps
and skating area. If run into, the wheels of skate boards tend
to lock up, tipping the rider off the board.
Presumably the seeded areas
will grow in due course, but with constant wear from day one,
this seems unlikely in the near future, especially in the predominantly
dry weather we have had in the last month.
The same problem exists
in the children's area where we have seen teenagers quite deliberately
throwing stones and clods of mud onto the play equipment. Not
in itself a major problem, but yet another irritation that mothers
and children should not have to put up with.
Much of the recommendations
that ROSPA make have not been implemented. Others were promised,
but we have yet to see them. Some of the most important aspects
will be impossible to meet on account of the site's location.