|said the youth was found unconscious near his skateboard in
the 200 block of Tocoloma Avenue in Visitacion Valley on February 25. He never recovered,
from a fractured skull. The deaths followed at least four other skateboarding fatalities
in the Bay Area in the past year.
We're seeing a lot of severe injuries from
skateboarding hereat the county hospital, at least one a week," Hirschfeld said.
"What's my advice? Wear a helmet."
The same warning was given to 50 children at the Presidio Hill School last Friday in a
session devoted solely to skateboarding safety. The kids first saw a videotape on safety,
then were treated to a dazzling exhibition of skating, free-form bike riding and
skateboarding in the back yard of their private elementary school at 3839 Washington
"Some old ladies see a kid coming towards them on skates or a board and they
think, 'This guy's out of control,' " said show organizer David G. Miles, 31, who has
been a member of the Golden Gate Park Skate Patrol for nine years. "We want to change
that negative, skate and destroy image."
Beginners always should wear a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads, said Ken Takeda, 21,
member of a team called the Skatch, wiping the sweat off.his face after doing some daring
jumps and a handstand on his board or "stick.". "You've got to be alert to
your environment," said 23-year-old Nathan Burris, who picks up tips entertaining
tourists. "You've got to pay attention to cars, pedestrians, other guy's on
bikes.". However careful one is, accidents are inevitable, the children were told.
"After a while, you learn how to fall," smiled Ondreea Powers, 20,.a student
at Laney College. Powers said she and her friends like to practice on the smooth,
fenced-off stretch of pavement just inside Golden Gate Park at Sixth Avenue off Fulton.
"I got hurt just last Sunday," said, Powers. "Five of us were heading for a
ramp, and the guy ahead of me caught his foot. He fell pretty bad and I fell on top of
him. I bruised and scraped my leg. It's still very stiff."
Nonetheless, she danced on skates to a tape of Madonna's "White Heat," and
afterward several little girls came up to get her autograph.
Complaints from elderly San Franciscans about reckless skateboarders have decreased
since Supervisor Willie Kennedy tried unsuccessfully last September to ban the boards from
residential sidewalks, city officials said. "Since then the skateboarding community
has been fairly successful in policing itself, and we have had less complaints," said
a Kennedy aide, Minnie Loo.
"The climate is better," agreed Tom Jennings, 31, who heads a skateboarding
club called Shred of Dignity. "We're teaching kids courtesy, getting them to call
something like "On your left!" when passing pedestrians instead of scaring
them," said Jennings, who often uses his skateboard to get around town.
Miles said his team will give another "demo" at 1:45. p.m. on April 23 at
Alamo Square on Fulton Street in the Western Addition. Interested schools can contact him
at the Outdoor Recreation Association, 1627 48th" Avenue. .The phone is 681-7948.