Power skateboarders need helmets – coroner
Tue, 04 Sep 2012 11:38p.m.
By Cleo Fraser
It should be compulsory to wear helmets when riding motorised skateboards, which can reach speeds up to 40km/h, a coroner says, after two men were killed falling off them.
Tom Lawrence Kenny, 41, died from head injuries In January 2010 after falling off his motorised skateboard in Havelock, about 30km west of Picton, while travelling along a footpath near his home.
Mr Kenny was more than twice the legal alcohol limit for drivers and was not wearing a helmet.
He had owned the motorised skateboard for four years.
In findings released today, Coroner Carla na Nagara said if Mr Kenny had been wearing a helmet he might have survived the crash.
She recommended the Ministry of Transport make it compulsory for motorised skateboard riders to wear a helmet.
Ms Nagara said this should be a legal requirement because of the speeds the skateboards could reach and the fact they were characterised as a motor vehicle under the Land Transport Act and therefore must be ridden on the road.
Ms Nagara wrote to the Ministry of Transport in 2008 outlining the same recommendation after the death of Jeffrey White, who died after falling off a motorised skateboard in Palmerston North.
A "limited review" of low-powered vehicles was carried out at the time by the ministry but no changes were made.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Transport said the coroner's recommendations would be taken seriously and it would reconsider whether to make helmets compulsory.
"As the coroner's report indicated, the earlier limited review looked at the wider application of low-powered vehicles. It was not considered necessary at that time to mandate helmet use for these vehicles."
Any decision to make the helmets compulsory wouldn't come quickly as further work would be needed to bring the change to fruition, he said.
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