Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Skateboarders top up injury rates

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Skateboard injuries in Hawke's Bay totalled 81 in the year to March 29.
Skateboard injuries in Hawke's Bay totalled 81 in the year to March 29.

Hawke's Bay people have made more than 80 claims for skateboarding injuries this year as riders around the country make headlines for dangerous stunts.

ACC figures show 81 Hawke's Bay claims in the year to March 29 have so far cost the national compensation scheme $18,806.

RoadSafe Hawke's Bay regional manager Linda Anderson said skateboarders should always wear a helmet and other safety gear. They should be aware of their surroundings including other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

She said there were many shared pathways around Hawke's Bay where people of all skill levels could enjoy skateboarding.

She said it was best if skateboarders avoided roads altogether.

Nationally, 2130 made ACC claims for skateboarding injuries in the first quarter of 2016. Those claims had cost $592,132 to date.

Several skateboarders have made headlines for risky stunts in recent months.

Footage of a longboarder riding down State Highway 1 on the southern side of the Brynderwyn Hills at high speed was posted to YouTube earlier this year.

Northland police called the ride "an act of stupidity".

Bay of Plenty police said a skateboarder being towed by a car at Mount Maunganui last month was "high risk behaviour at its worst".

They travelled almost the entire length of Marine Parade, reaching speeds of 40km/h.

Kapiti man Tristan Hunter died when he fell off his longboard while skating down Maungakotukutuku Rd, near Paraparaumu, last month.

He was hit by a following car in what his family called a "freak accident".

The 21-year-old was regarded as one of New Zealand's best longboarders and had aspirations to ride professionally.

Police media adviser Jillian Reid said skateboarders were allowed to ride on the road but police strongly advised them against doing so as there was significant risk of serious injury.

She said skateboards were defined as vehicles and riders had to operate safely and responsibly and follow the road rules just like any other road user.

"If people are using their boards safely and appropriately, without causing nuisance or putting themselves or other members of the public at risk, then police are unlikely to have an issue."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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