Before you Go Out
- Check the weather. Skating in rain, snow, or ice is dangerous; dress appropriately for the temperature. You will sweat even on the coldest days so layered athletic wear is best. (WAR weekly skates are cancelled if the roads are wet.)
- If you are skating with others, know the expectations and make sure you have the ability required. Have a backup plan in case you need to leave the group (e.g., money for Metro or a taxi.) Bring a map, or know where you are going.
- Have the appropriate gear.
- You only have one head--a helmet may save your life.
- Make sure that your skates are in good shape and fit properly. Bring wrenches, an extra axel and axel screw, and parts for your brake.
- Wrists and lower arms are the #1 broken or injured area--wear wrist guards.
- Knee and elbow pads are highly recommended. Make sure they are the right size and comfortable.
- Water--bring water, and drink it; especially on hot days.
- First Aid supplies--Band Aids, moleskin, etc.
- If you are skating at night, bright clothes and flashing lights help drivers see you.
- Bring sandals if you are going to do any non-skating activities before or after the skate like taking the Metro home.
- Skating safely involves being in control at all times. If you feel that you may not be able to skate under control, go to the WAR skating clinic or take lessons.
- Stay Alert. Skating is like driving; constantly pay attention to the road surface, traffic conditions and other skaters or hazards. Avoid skating while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
- Know your limits. When you're out in traffic it is not a time to push the envelope. Learn new skills in a quiet parking lot or at a clinic.
- Use common sense. Busy highway with a freshly paved left lane? Probably not a good idea.
A few quick rules of the road
- If you are traveling at speeds similar to walking, stay on the sidewalk, and yield to pedestrians.
- If you are going faster than a brisk walk, consider using the road. Generally cars are going faster so stay to the right and allow them to pass. Maintain your visibility and obey all traffic signals.
- Avoid sudden erratic behavior.
- Many other road and trail users do not understand the physics of skating so be prepared to deal with cars, bikes and pedestrians who may act illogically in your presence. (Bikers may be annoyed because you have a wide stride and they are trying to pass.)
- Be Polite. All skaters are judged by what you do. Stay to the right, and allow faster moving traffic to pass.
- When using a trail or sidewalk announce that you will be "passing on the left," and yield to pedestrians. When you are in the streets, use arm and hand signals to indicate direction changes.
- There are places where skating is against the law. Commonly on private or commercial property and also on some public city streets and sidewalks. WAR does not financially or officially support any civil disobedience. Instead send a letter to the media and your legislators.
After the Skate
- Think about the skate--was it easy or hard? What could you have improved? Did you have fun? Make new friends?
- If you are going out afterwards, be sure that you stay sober or have a safe way to make the trip home.
- Check your equipment. Skates need periodic maintence. You may need to rotate your wheels, clean your bearings, or examine the new dents in your pads. Do this directly after a skate or you'll forget!