What to Know About Safety for Inline Skating

Reviewed by Mahammad Juber, MD on May 07, 2022

Inline skates, also known as rollerblades, are skates with wheels in a line. These are different from roller skates, which have wheels side by side. Inline skating allows for faster speeds and sharper turns. Inline skating is a great way to get outside and exercise. But without the proper protective gear, it can be dangerous. 

Inline skating requires more stability because all of the wheels are in the center of the skate. Skates can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour. 

Inline Skating Equipment

The most important piece of inline skating protective gear is the helmet. When looking for a helmet, you want one approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

The helmet should be snug but comfortable. It needs to sit on your or your child’s head in a level position. The helmet shouldn’t rock from side to side. You’ll also want your helmet to have a secure chin strap and buckle that keeps it in place. 

The helmet's exterior should be a hard shell with an impact-absorbing inner liner at least one-half inch thick. 

Other equipment you’ll need for inline skating includes: 

  • Skates that fit well in the boot
  • A solid skate shell 
  • Working skate buckles
  • Wrist guards
  • Knee and elbow pads

These types of protective gear are essential when learning the basics. The basics include warming up before you skate to reduce the chances of straining a muscle. Make sure you know how to stop. Also make sure you know how to fall correctly. 

When falling, crouch down to lower your center of gravity. Roll when you fall, and try to land on fleshy parts of your body like your thighs or buttocks. Avoid landing on your elbows or head, which can cause much more damage. 

You can also avoid getting hurt by making sure that all your inline skating equipment is on correctly. Your helmet should come down right over your eyebrows. Your wrist guards and elbow and knee pads should be on tight so they can't slip while skating. 

Optional skating protective gear includes light gloves to protect your fingers while skating. You could also wear a mouthpiece to protect your teeth and mouth if you crash or fall.  

You should check your skates regularly for any wear or damage. Wheels, bearings, or brakes should be replaced when they show wear and tear. You'll also want to check your wheels for anything stuck in the bearings that could affect you the next time you put on the skates.  

What Is Skating Safety?

Skating safely means taking precautions to avoid injuries while skating. Some ways that you can take skating safety seriously include: 

  • Taking lessons from a trained instructor or experienced skater before trying skating on your own. 
  • Choosing open spaces like empty parking lots, unused tennis courts, or areas with smooth pavement and grass around to practice. 
  • Trying out the indoor or outdoor skating rink when you’re ready. 
  • Taking your skills to the skate park or trail after comfortably skating in a rink. 

Other protective measures you can take for skating safety include wearing all of your skating protective gear, even on a skating rink. Don’t hold on to moving vehicles when skating. This can cause you to gain high speed and lose control. Make sure your skates are the right fit and style for your size and skill level. 

What to Know Before Inline Skating?

If you plan to skate outside, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Headphones or earbuds can distract you and make you less aware, so it's best to skip them. It would be best if you carried some essentials with you, though, including: 

  • Your ID
  • Your cellphone
  • Something to attract attention if you get hurt or feel unsafe

When skating outside, make sure you're doing so during the daytime. If possible, go skating with a friend. Try to avoid sidewalks and roads, as these can be hazardous for you. Skating on recreational trails is highly recommended. Use trail etiquette by staying to the right on a path and calling out "on your left" when passing someone. 

When skating in public around cars or homes, always expect cars not to stop. It's safer to slow down than to take a chance. When crossing intersections, make sure you're aware of any vehicles turning in front of you. Also be aware of skating past parked cars, as someone could be getting out as you're speeding by. Just like cyclists, you should follow the rules of the road if you must skate in traffic. 

General health tips include staying hydrated and wearing sunscreen while spending time outside. Skating in the rain or snow can be risky. 

How Can You Prevent Inline Skating Injuries?

Most inline skating injuries are fractures and sprains. The wrist is the most commonly injured body part, and two-thirds of wrist injuries are fractures. Wrist injuries make up about 37% of inline skating injuries. Head injuries make up about 5% of inline skating injuries but can have a devastating impact depending on the severity.

The most common causes of inline skating injuries include: 

  • Falling when your wheels hit a rock, stick, bump, or another object
  • Losing your balance
  • Bumping into another skater, cyclist, or pedestrian
  • Losing control when going fast
  • Skating in poor road conditions
  • Bad visibility

Many people take up inline skating each year. But it's not just the amateurs that can get hurt. Even experienced inline skaters crash and get hurt. By wearing protective gear, you can reduce the damage to your body when you fall. 

Buying the right skates that support your ankle and are durable will keep you upright and skating safer. Before skating, make sure you warm up and start skating slowly. Keep your knees bent to keep your balance. 

Keep an eye on the ground when skating so you're not surprised by a bump or rock that can send you flying across the sidewalk.

Inline skating is a great hobby to keep you active and on the go. As long as you take the proper precautions, you can safely enjoy this activity. 

Show Sources


CDC: “Inline Skating Activity Card.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “For Parents: Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboard and Scooter Safety.”

OrthoKids: “Inline Skating Safety.”

STOP Sports Injuries: “Preventing Inline Skating Injuries.”

TeensHealth: “Safety Tips: Inline Skating.”

UC San Diego Health: “Scooter, Skateboard, and Inline Skates Safety.”

University of Rochester Medical Center: “For Parents: Bicycle, Inline Skating, Skateboard, and Scooter Safety.”

UPMC: “Scooters, Skates, and Boards - Wearing a Helmet.”

Winchester Hospital: “Safety Tips for Inline Skating.”

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