Legalities and lacing up under Illinois' Roller Skating Rink Safety Act

Amelia Flood Jun. 2, 2011, 9:13am

It's not just a place for wholesome family fun.

Illinois roller rinks are also laced with legalities.

Both operators and patrons of the state's roller skating rinks are all subject to guidelines laid out in the state's Roller Skating Rink Safety Act, passed over 15 years ago.

The act governs not only what the responsibilities of rink owners are to ensure their patrons are safe but also lays out what responsibilities a skater has as well.

The Roller Skating Rink Safety Act was cited in a case that was recently dismissed in St. Clair County.

Plaintiff Amonie Parker sued the owner of the Fun Spot Skating Center in Belleville for allegedly failing to maintain its skates.

Parker claimed that the defective skates caused her to fall breaking her ankle.

The rink's owners, Rolo Skate U.S.A., cited the roller rink law in an unsuccessful attempt to have the case dismissed. Rolo Skate U.S.A. claimed it had fulfilled its responsibilities under the law and that Parker's skates weren't in bad condition.

Parker dismissed her case without prejudice May 16.

The roller rink law was approved in 1995 and went into effect Jan. 1, 1996.

It was passed due to difficulties roller rink operators faced in trying to get liability insurance and because, as the law reads, the state's general assembly thought it was

The first roller skates known to exist were created in the 1760s, according to the Web site of the National Roller Skating Museum, located in Lincoln, Neb. The first patent for a roller skate was issued in 1819 in Paris, France.

The four wheel roller skate as it is known today came into being in 1863 and the sport grew in popularity.

"The General Assembly finds and declares that the recreational sport of roller skating is practiced by a large number of citizens of this State; roller skating is a wholesome and healthy family activity that should be encouraged; and the allocation of risks and costs of roller skating is an important matter of public policy," the law reads.

Under the law, roller rink operators are charged with keeping their skates in good condition, keeping the skating surface in good condition, and having a supervising staff member on the floor for every 200 skaters during open skating sessions.

Rinks must comply with guidelines published by the Roller Skating Rink Operators Association, now known as the Roller Skating Association International.

Rink owners are also charged with keeping fire extinguishers, emergency exit lights and signs listing their legal responsibilities in good order and posted visibly.

Skaters, too, have responsibilities under the act.

Those skating must keep a "reasonable" speed and course while skating.

They must heed warnings and posted signs and keep a look out for other skaters and

Skaters are also bound to take responsibility for knowing their own skating ability and skate accordingly.

They are to refrain from acting in ways that could injure others while understanding the risks of putting on their skates.

"Roller skaters and spectators are deemed to have knowledge of and to assume the inherent risks of roller skating," the law reads and includes a section on "Assumption of Risks."

Those risks that are to be understood include colliding with other skaters and objects, injuries resulting from a loss of balance and fall, and injuries that involve doors, columns,
and other properly structures within the roller rink.

Rink operators have a complete defense to suits brought for injuries suffered in incidents covered by section outlining the understood risks of roller skating.

Maine, Michigan, New Jersey and other states also have statutes that govern roller rinks and skaters.

The Illinois law is listed as 745 ILCS 72/1.

More News