Skaters Weigh in on Longboarders Death
Eric Kauppila’s been skateboarding for about 10 years. He admits he rarely wears a helmet. It’s just not “cool,” Kauppila said. He’s confident in his skills and isn’t concerned about getting hurt. That wasn’t the case for a Champlain College student on Tuesday. Police said 18-year old Peter Cernansky, a former high school quarterback, was longboarding down Spruce Street. According to officers, Cernansky was not wearing a helmet when he lost control, hit his head and died from his injuries two days later. “It’s just heartbreaking, because here’s a kid who’s had his who world ahead of him and now he’s lost that opportunity. Put your helmet on, buckle it up,” said Hannah Wood, owner of Talent Skatepark and Shop in South Burlington. Bearing a helmet there is mandatory — and not just for skaters.
“Nobody goes into the park without a helmet, on and buckled, even if it’s a parent going in for their child’s birthday. They’re still required to wear a helmet, on and buckled, because they’re the role model for the kids,” said Wood, who added that head injuries come much easier than people think. She can speak from experience, after falling into coma a few years ago. “I sustained a traumatic brain injury and it brings it right home because you couldn’t give me a million dollars to go through that again,” said Wood. After the tragic loss of Cernansky, she knows how lucky she is. Burlington police said there is no law mandating bikers, skateboarders, longboarders or people who scooter to wear a helmet. To a city councilor’s knowledge, no such ordinances has been proposed yet in the wake of Cernansky’s death.