Proffesor Blames City for Longboard Accident
Young mourners with longboards stand on Millrise Blvd SW in Calgary on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Just 24 hours earlier, Duncan McRae, 13, died in a longboarding crash at the site. EDMONTON — A local safety advocate says Canadian cities are too dangerous for kids after a 13-year-old Calgary longboarder died last week. University of Alberta professor Dr. Louis Francescutti, an emergency physician and president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, says tragedies like Duncan McRae’s death could be prevented with more kid-friendly engineering. McRae was travelling down a back alley on his longboard in Calgary Tuesday when he lost control and fell into a cable fence. He died from his injuries. “If kids are running into structures that really serve no purpose, then that’s part of the engineering solution to reducing the risk. This really shouldn’t be happening when a kid is trying to pass the time and play,” Francescutti said.
“Ask yourself, did you need a cable fence, or did you maybe just need a hedge?”
Francescutti says kids should be consulted about civic design matters when it comes to recreational spaces. He points to the UNICEF Injury World Report, which shows Canada’s rate of preventable childhood injuries and deaths is higher than most other industrialized nations. Unintentional injury is far and away the leading cause of death for Canadians aged one to 14. Francescutti says child safety is taken more seriously in countries like Sweden, where the childhood injury rate is considerably lower. “The real problem is, why does Canada have such high injury rates in comparison to other places in the world? The answer quite frankly is because we don’t care,” he said.
Veteran boarders in Edmonton, meanwhile, are calling the death a freak accident.
Longboarder Tim Mercer, who co-organized Edmonton’s ROGUE 20km longboard race in August, notes McRae was playing it smart by wearing his helmet, knee pads, and slide gloves. People rarely sustain serious injuries riding longboards because they are built more for travelling, he says, whereas skateboards are more geared for doing tricks. “That’s one of those unfortunate injuries that could happen at any time to anyone doing anything,” Mercer said.