Richard Ord: Build trampolining parks closer to hospitals

Instead of banning trampoline parks or introducing stricter controls why not just build them nearer to hospitals? Think of the savings on ambulance petrol.

Wednesday, 7th March 2018, 12:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th March 2018, 1:00 pm

Every generation has a pastime that gets the authorities hot under the collar. Pogo sticks, hula hoops and heated necklaces being three that spring to mind. Today it’s trampoline parks under the cosh after a rise in accidents.

Do the new trampoline parks need more regulation?

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The call for bans is proportional to the fun the child has indulging in the activity. When was the last time you heard calls for greater regulation at school chess clubs?

When I was kid it was skateboards and home-made go-carts that had Health and Safety killjoys shaking their heads and pointing vigorously at the stats on their clipboard. My mother wouldn’t buy me a skateboard for several weeks after watching a safety expose of the dangers of skateboarding on Nationwide. If nothing else, the skateboard ban honed my whinging skills.

The home-made go-carts made it past the parental censors despite being riskier than skateboards. That’s because the dangers weren’t instantly apparent.

For the first few days there isn’t a go-cart to be concerned about. It has to be built. This involves the surreptitious dismantling of objects with wheels and the collection of sturdy wood. The only outward evidence of impropriety would be the loss of a backdoor or two in neighbouring streets and the occasional wheelless pram left on bricks. Parents were happy enough to leave us kids to our own devices.

Do the new trampoline parks need more regulation?

I can remember the great May Street go-cart race of 1970-something. There was some concern from the parents but with safety stewards (kids without go-carts) stationed at every corner to watch for cars every eventuality was accounted for.

Street racing helped to develop essential life skills in us youngsters. Ingenuity, practicality, camaraderie and some other ‘ idies’, I can’t quite think of at the moment.

Everyone had great fun, lessons were learned and no-one was hurt. Except for Neville Scott, who on winning the race failed to apply brakes in time and flew straight under a bus.

When your braking system is based the number of segs (and tread, or lack thereof) in the sole of your desert boots, there’s always an element of danger.

That, and putting the finishing line about five yards from a main road!

I knew there was another of those ‘idies’ to be thrown into the mix: Stupidity.

Neville was fine, by the way, and, to no little subsequent hero worship, was heard to shout “will someone rescue my go-cart” as he was carried into the ambulance.

Needless to say, the impromptu go-cart street races were soon disbanded to be replaced, no doubt, by different but equally dangerous activities. What became of those carefree thrill-seekers in later life I don’t know.

But I wager they’re the ones behind trampoline parks. More power to their (fractured) elbows, I say.