Skateboarder cited a fourth time for helmetless riding
November 14, 2014
Skiers and snowboarders aren't required to wear helmets. Nor are motorcyclists. To many, there's a certain freedom that comes with enjoying their pastimes without something tight and burdensome wrapped around their heads.
But the Rio Grande Skate Park in Aspen has a rule requiring helmets, and it's posted on signs near the park. The Aspen Police Department attempts to enforce the local law.
William Andrew Jayne, 20, an avid skateboarder and fan of the park, knows all that. Yet, for his third official citation of not wearing a helmet since 2012, Jayne pleaded guilty Wednesday in Aspen Municipal Court and was ordered by Judge Brooke Peterson to pay a $140 fine.
Overall, the Oct. 29 citation was actually Peterson's fourth of its kind, but a lot of time lapsed between the first and second citations, and so the first offense didn't count toward his fine.
Peterson asked Jayne why he continues to ride a skateboard without a helmet.
Jayne told the judge, respectfully, that he just wouldn't understand.
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"Try me," Peterson said.
"They're really itchy when you skate for eight hours at a time like I do," Jayne said. "It just comes down to overheating and itchiness — no reason you'd consider valid."
Peterson replied that wearing a helmet while skateboarding is a local regulation and suggested to Jayne that he would be setting an example for all of the other users of the park, including children, by obeying it.
Assistant City Attorney Debbie Quinn, who handles Municipal Court prosecutions, said she understood that Jayne is an accomplished skateboarder and that he believes he's not going to get hurt. Nonetheless, he might, she suggested.
Jayne asked if he could get a waiver from wearing the helmet. After all, he's older than 18. Motorcycle riders who are 18 or older don't have to wear helmets.
"We can't do that," Quinn said.
Jayne said he loves Aspen's skate park.
"It's been a part of my life for six years now," he said.
"We all have our passions in life, but some of those passions come with restrictions," the judge reminded him.
Quinn recommended useful community service — perhaps in the form of teaching other skateboarders about the safety benefits of wearing helmets — should police cite him again.
Peterson agreed and sent Jayne on his way.