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Op-Ed: St Margaret's Bay, NS adopting mandatory helmets for public skate

By Sara Star     Oct 9, 2010 in Sports
Halifax - On Friday, I went skating for the first time this season. I learned that the arena I have enjoyed coming to for years, St Margaret's Center, is adopting mandatory helmets for public skating starting January 2011, even without provincial legislation.
Skating is one of my top ten passions, and I was saddened to hear this news. It will only be a matter of time that the government will be pressured into legislating this province-wide. I think we need to look at this more closely.
I am a registered nurse. I understand the medical concerns. Skating is dangerous. I also understand that living is dangerous also.
The world is full of peril. There is no possible way to protect ourselves from all harm. It is woven into the very fabric of life. So do we going to let fear control our life or do we make enough sense of it to find some enjoyment without bureaucrats breathing done our necks in our everyday living?
Do we allow legislation to come in that will make the situation safer at the cost of our enjoyment of life and human freedoms? How far do we go?
It only takes a handful of people to start a movement, and gain popularity using the tool called fear. That is how they gain votes, by presenting the dark side of things, and then jumping in and becoming a hero. Fear breeds more fear, and soon we become a paranoid society ruled by government, becoming a police state before we know it.
I have heard these arguments:
“If it can save one life, then the law is justified.” Well this statement can be applied to just about anything, but do we legislate our every decision?
“Why should I have to pay for the medical bills for someone injured because they did not wear a helmet?” These same people are out puffing on a cigarette, or having coffee and donuts after the skating over. Why should I have to pay for the medical bills of those that consume processed sugar and nicotine, which kills more people than skating ever will?
For those who do not skate, or do any physical exercise, why do I pay for their illnesses? Perhaps the answer is freedom of choice and enjoyment of life.
If this becomes a done deal in the provincial legislation, I ask: What is next? More regulations imposing on our lives. Before we know it, we lose control over our lives. Maybe one day they can pass a law called The Right to Enjoy Life.
What seems to be an innocuous decision is not so black and white anymore. On the surface it seems legitimate, but when you look at its deeper ramifications, it becomes layered. Where do we draw the line?
Facts: the helmets that are needed to provide any significant safety are so heavy and uncomfortable that we will not even want to wear them for a simple social public skate, and the light ones that we prefer will only provide minimal protection, and give us a sense of false security which may lead to an increase in injuries.
When we are given freedom to enjoy life, we experience joy and love. When our enjoyment is compromised because of fear mongers, more people get depressed. (Do I have to pay for the medical bills for all those who have depression? The answer is yes in Canada.)
Oh that slope can become very slippery. Not that I want to scare anybody.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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