expert jury what price rollerblading?

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Is rollerblading ridiculous?

Divina Wier-Willets

British In-line Skating Association

Rollerblading is no more ridiculous than any other sport. If someone wants to jump off a mountain with a kite tied to their back then that's fine by me. Rollerblading is enormously good fun and great for fitness. It's a very flexible way of enjoying the outside and great for all ages. Blading does not wear out your joints like jogging and it's highly aerobic. As long as bladers wear the correct safety clothing and skate with courtesy, it's a safe way to exercise.

What's more, it really is a sport for all. Whether you are dancing when you are on your skates, playing in one of the many street hockey leagues that are starting up all the time or just skating around the park, there's something for everyone: 400,000 regular rollerbladers in Britain can't be wrong.

Jo Brand

Comedienne

I don't think that there should be a ban or any age restrictions on rollerblading but on no account should people be allowed to wear lycra whatever their shape. I can't see myself trying it, either. If I got up past 30 miles an hour I think I'd become a lethal weapon. The only time I can really see myself doing it is if I was going downhill very fast aimed at someone I didn't like.

Seriously, the fatal collision between the cyclist and the rollerblader earlier in the summer showed how it's obviously something you have to be good at to do well at, but it shouldn't be taken too seriously. Suggestions of proficiency tests are taking it all a bit too far.

Alvie Chalmers

Editor Skatermag

Rollerblading is great for all ages, but it's especially good for the over-30s. I recently had a letter from a 63-year-old woman who has just taken up the sport and in it she raves about going out blading with her grandchildren. If she's properly padded up and in reasonable health she should have no problems.

I only took up the sport two years ago and I'm 36. It's fantastic for me because after years of rugby and jogging my knees were badly damaged and I never thought I'd find an aerobic exercise I could do again. However, since my seven- year-old son and I first went out we haven't looked back. It's a brilliant sport. You should expect to fall over a couple of times but you quickly get the hang of it. But if you've got no co-ordination at all then I wouldn't advise it.

Tom Corby

Royal Parks Agency

Parks are for everyone and there is no reason why people should not be able to rollerblade in the Royal Parks if they want to. However, in the light of two recent accidents we are reviewing our policy on rollerblading, and although I cannot say what the outcome will be, we do not feel that it is realistic to impose a ban. We have taken some interim measures, like sanding some paths in Kensington Gardens and relaying parts of Hyde Park with tar and chippings, in an effort to make them less attractive to rollerbladers. However, there's still plenty of room for the bladers to enjoy themselves.

Rosemary Hargreaves

Help The Aged

If it is not taught or learned properly, it is a dangerous sport, and people feel threatened by it. This is particularly true of elderly people, who may have hearing or sight difficulties. I think there should be special areas in public places set aside for rollerblading. It shouldn't be allowed on pavements and roads. The only problem with that is how would you police such a law.

Having said all this, I know some elderly people who like to sit out by the Albert Memorial of an afternoon, who wish they could take up rollerblading. Personally, I'm sure I would fall off if I tried it, but I must admit it does look exciting. And I do like the outfits.

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