Safety equipment

Kind mit SchutzausrüstungRoller skating is great fun, but it can also be a bit dangerous. Especially while learning to skate, falls are somewhat to be expected. In order to keep them from being anything more than a little nuisance, you need good safety equipment. If you already own safety equipment for skates boarding, inline skating or something similar, then you’ll be able to reuse quite a bit of it.

General infos for safety equipment

First a quick word of caution for all kinds of protectors: Only use those that you pull on, not the ones that are fastened with Velcro. Especially on hard falls where you need them the most, Velcro fastened protectors slip off too easily.
For long tours on public roads – especially those through woods – reflectors and other high visibility clothing is also extremely important. A roller skater in dark clothes can be easily missed when there’s mixed light levels like on a road through a light wooded area.
Also very important: Never buy used safety equipment. You don’t know how it’s been stored or what damage it has sustained during usage. There can be microscopic damage that you can’t see, but which massively lessens the resistance and stability of the equipment.

Wrist- and Hand protectors

When falling down, every human tries to break the fall with his or her hands. That’s just a natural reflex. When falling from low height at low speed, that shouldn’t be a problem for most people. Especially for kids a slow fall like that is absolutely no problem – there’s just not enough force and speed for serious abrasions.
However when roller skating you can get up to quite fast speeds, and you’re elevated by the wheels and chassis of the skates. In that situation, a fall at high speed onto a gravel and detritus covered road can lead to serious scrapes and scratches on the hands.
In order to prevent that, you shouldn’t skate without a wrist and hand protector. They protect your hands from scrapes and your wrists from strains and breaks through really bad falls.

Elbow protectors

During a fall, your elbows have very little natural protection. There’s no thick muscle or fat cushions to break the fall. Plus, if your elbows are angled, the skin is pulled very tight and especially susceptible to scrapes.
All that together means that the elbows are easily damaged though a fall and need to be protected. Elbow protectors offer a nice cushion and prevent scrapes. They’re a great protection for a very vulnerable joint.

Knee protectors

The knees are very similar to the elbows. However, protectors are even more important for the knees, because during a fall there’s often a low more weight that comes down on the knees. It’s also quite a bit more likely to hit the ground with your knees, than with your elbows, because the hands automatically try to slow your fall before the elbows hit the ground. All that makes the knees very susceptible, and they need to be protected according.


Helmets are the most important protection from really bad accidents. Hitting the curb with your arm is bad. Hitting it with your head can be fatal.
When buying a helmet for skating it’s important that there’s no strongly protruding elements. Some bike helmets for example have aerodynamic shapes that can be very dangerous for the neck if you fall straight backwards. That situation doesn’t happen often while riding a bike, but when roller skating it can happen quite often.
You need a helmet – there’s just no way around that.

Protective pants and vests

If you skate very much and very fast, protective pants and vests might come in handy. The pants protect you when you fall on your hip. The vests are there to protect the spine during hard falls. Both are a very good idea for everyone who skates regularly.

Conclusion on safety equipment

Safety equipment is very important when roller skating. Sooner or later everybody falls down, and the safety equipment plays a large part in how bad the consequences of that fall will be.
Wrist-, Elbow-, and Kneeprotectors as well as Helmets should be worn by everyone. Not just for yourself, but also as an example to others (especially kids). You should choose protectors that get pulled on instead of those with Velcro. Make sure that your helmet fits and has no large, protruding, elements.
On public roads you should definitely wear reflectors and highly visible clothing. When you know you’ll be going very fast, have any kind of previous injury or just like added security, you should consider wearing a protective vest and protective pants.
Even a complete set of safety equipment can’t protect from everything, but in very, very, many situations, it can lessen or completely forestall injury.

If you want to know how to deal with the tiny nuisances of skating, like blisters, sunburn, mosquito bites and soreness, then have a look here.

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