Proposed law would require helmets for all Portland skaters

Proposed law would require helmets for all Portland skaters »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - Sharon Hennessey, who lives in Portland's West Hills, has a strict rule for her kids when they head out the door to ride their scooters and skateboards: wear a helmet, no exceptions.

Now, a blanket ordinance that would require all skaters in Portland do the same is making its way through Portland's City Hall.

The proposed ordinance, which is currently being developed by a new committee, is in response to complaints from West Hills residents regarding the latest trend by skaters who roll down the steep and curving roads of Portland's West Hills at speeds equal to or even faster than automobile traffic.

Hennessy said there's been several crashes on her street and her husband has even taken skaters to the hospital on several occasions. The ordinance would affect skaters of any age.

Some homeowners told KATU News they support the ordinance because they are afraid of hitting a skater while driving around the sharp and sometimes blind corners near their homes.

"They lay down on longboards and go right through the stop sign," Hennessey said. "Especially with the pitch and grade of the street, if they hit a rock ... We've had an accident - we've had several accidents. We've picked several of them up off the street.”

Getting skaters to comply with the ordinance may be a tough sell. One man riding at a local skate park without a helmet said he had no plans on complying with the ordinance.

"It's not gonna work. I'm not gonna obey it anyway," Max Watson said.

Colette Peterson, a skater at the same park, who was not wearing a helmet, said she supported helmet use but not laws mandating it.

“I think that wearing a helmet is a good idea, but I think it should be a personal choice,” she said.

Regardless of any city law, at the Hennessey house it’s mom’s law that really counts.

“I’m not allowed to leave the house without the helmet,” said 9-year-old Cliff. “Same with my brother.

The committee met once again on Wednesday to discuss the idea. They will send a full proposal to the city council next week.