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In-Line Skating Accidents Are Rare

July 31, 1994

* I am concerned about the title and tone of the July 17 editorial on Irvine's plan to build a youth facility for in-line skaters. The title "Roller Rink Idea Is In Line With Safety--Innovative Irvine Allocates Fund for Youth Facility to Put Brakes on Street Skating" indicts in-line skating as being dangerous.

My in-line skating experience has never required more than 1) average common sense, 2) knowledge of bicycling road rules and 3) wrist guards. A serious accident is very rare and is usually the consequence of insufficient experience or stupid bravado. (No one can protect stupid people from hurting themselves.)

Many in-line skaters (myself included) have logged thousands of miles over the years in heavily congested streets, highways and bike paths without incident for years. Some of us are in our 40s, and we are not reckless "thrill seekers." The draw is to harmless fun, excellent exercise, fresh air, companionship, sun and an alternative means of transportation during the weekends.

In-line skating can include generations of family members in one group activity. In the course of five years of in-line skating experience and my former work as an accident investigator for nearly 10 years, my overall assessment of the in-line urban skating practices of California adolescents, children, and adults is very positive. I see more responsible behavior here than I do on the ski slopes.

The young woman who was observed "flying down an Irvine street" may have been in full control of her skates and had excellent command of her situation--as much as the most experienced bicyclist on that same path. There is no problem here that requires government attention.

CHUCK DENMAN

Newport Beach

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