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Why are less people inline skating than in the 1990s?


Why are less people inline skating than in the 1990s?
Photo © Steffen Berk, iStockphoto.com
Question: Why are less people inline skating than in the 1990s?

Many roller sports enthusiasts are concerned about the decline in the number of inline skaters.


New technology, alternative activities, fewer convenient places to skate, economics and fear of injury all play a part in the decline in the number of inline skaters.

Technology and Alternative Activities

Kids and adults are constantly lured away from the activities that require or eventually build fitness and/or need a little discipline, including inline skating. Potential skaters spend more time watching TV with it’s endless choices or doing other forms of armchair activities that are available via today's technology – which leaves less time for hands-on or feet-on sports and recreation. Even recreational skaters need to follow a basic training program (self-directed or through instruction, group or team activities), invest in some gear and organize some time in order to skate. Many balk today at the first sign of muscle fatigue, and most really don’t want an activity with a learning curve.

The Cost of Inline Skating

There are so many other relatively inexpensive things to choose from, that more people are doing a little bit of a lot of things rather than committing to a specific sport. There is probably less extra income in some households for skating – or just maybe just less that is allocated for a skating budget. If you do the math and look at the benefits, inline skating is much less expensive than many activities.

Fewer Places to Skate

Another reason may also be that many past or potential outdoor skating locations currently restrict inline skating and skateboarding for safety and liability reasons. There are a lot more trails, tracks and skateparks than there used to be, but not nearly as many public access walkways, outdoor structures and building courts allow skates of any sort as did in the past. So, a person who is not willing to go to a park or trail may feel that inline skating is a limited activity.

In the early 90’s there were certainly more people who were able to use inline skates for transportation, because they could go more places without the need to plan an accessible route. And for those who prefer to skate indoors, many neighborhood roller rinks are closing, and there are fewer recreational centers with skating programs.

Fear of Injury

And last, there’s the old injury fear factor. More than ever, people are concerned with safety in everything they do, which is a good thing. But, in spite of all of the safety gear available for adults and youth, many are so afraid of injury that they choose not to skate.

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