Skater Boy

Are you thinking of Avril Lavigne with this title?

To be fair it has nothing to do with her but she does have a song with the same title. However, the matter I’m going to discuss does involve a ‘skater boy’.

There are a whole load of videos out there on the internet that show some pretty amazing, pretty hairy, pretty scary antics by skateboarders on roads.

These guys running downhill at amazing speeds and overtaking cyclists.

then this guy (note clothing and lack of protective gear) who nearly ends up under a coach.

The dangers are fairly obvious. Some of the videos online may be on closed roads. I don’t know. However, either way, this is the sort of behaviour that some boarders are engaging in and putting themselves and other road users at risk.

So then we have the Huddersfield style…. as reported by the Huddersfield Examiner. 

Whilst the top two examples are worth watching both for skill and stupidity, it is the latter I want you to concentrate on. It is, in many ways, totally laughable in comparison but the ingredients are the same. Skaters using boards on the road in a dangerous manner.

But is there something else we should be looking at? Is there something else from this Huddersfield video that we should be worried about? Is there something, perhaps, about this video that shows how little we truly understand about the dangers of mobile phone use behind the wheel? Is there something about this video that says in order to show dangerous behaviour by one user of the road we ignore another?

Take another look. This video footage is NOT a dashcam. It moves, it twists towards the skaters as they turn away from the car.

The phone is handheld and is positioned to the offside of the car. At the end of video the view of the dashboard suggests this is the driver and not somebody in the backseat with their phone over the drivers shoulder. It is too far forward. I could be wrong… and I cannot prove it but everything in this video points to it being the driver who is recording this footage on a hand held mobile phone.

Whilst trying to point out the dangers of what the skateboarders are doing the driver engages in dangerous behaviour! Worse, the newspaper have picked this up and used it in a story to show how dangerous the boarders are and pay no regard to the actions of the driver.

This is part of the problem we have with mobile phone use by drivers. There is no recognition of how dangerous this behaviour is. In many ways this footage should not have been used. The use of footage by news and media outlets that is clearly, or indicative, of a mobile phone offence by a driver that cannot be negated simply perpetuates the problem and adds to the misplaced concept by far too many that this is acceptable practice. The more we show it the more likely people are to engage in the same behaviour.

Is the driver concentrating on the roads? Is the driver concentrating on the oncoming traffic? Is the driver, as they turn left at the give way, paying more attention to keeping the boarders in shot than what may be approaching from their right? Another kid on a skateboard, a cyclist, a motorcyclist, a car…?

I’m not aware that anything happened. The newspaper certainly doesn’t report as such… so this driver got away with using a phone and nothing happened. That builds confidence. This driver will do it again… and again and again… until it goes wrong… and that could easily be the death of someone.

Using a phone whilst driving for any purpose is dangerous. It’s that simple. Put it down and get on with driving.

pic via Wikipedia

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