Get the right skates. Avoid cheapskates. Purchase the proper skates, based on your skating experience, from a store with knowledgeable salespeople. Regularly inspect your skates and rotate the wheels when they begin to wear unevenly.

Wear protective equipment. A helmet and wrist guards are a must for all skaters .A bicycle helmet will do, if it is approved by ANSI or the Snell Foundation. These helmets have a hard plastic shell and padding underneath. The wrist guards should have a hard plastic splint on the top and bottom .Beginners should also wear knee and elbow pads along with gloves to prevent scraping and cuts.

Take lessons. Many specialty stores offer lessons. You can call the International In-line Skating Association at 1-800-56SKATE for a list of certified instructors in your area.

Learn to stop. There are two ways to stop. The first is by using the brake pads at the heel of the skate. With one foot somewhat in front of the other, raise the toes of the front foot and pushdown on the heel of the brake. The second way is called the “T-stop”. This way requires dragging one skate behind the other, with the foot turned out so that the wheels are perpendicular to those of the forward moving skate.

Skate on safe surfaces. Learn to skate on a level, grassy park area, then try level parking lots or closed streets until you have gained experience. Most injuries occur on sidewalks where uneven surfaces can result in a loss of control .Sand, gravel, hills and wet surfaces can also create problems for the inexperienced skater.

Follow the rules of the road. For those who skate on streets, the International In-Line Skating Association suggests that they consider themselves bicyclists without seats. “Obey all traffic regulations,” the organization says. “When on skates, you have the same obligations as any wheeled vehicle.”

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