MILTON, Wash. - The one thing that could protect Joey Michels while he skates, he refuses to wear.
“For me personally I don't wear a helmet just because it throws me off balance. It's very uncomfortable,” he said. “Skateboarding is a really hard sport and you just get really sweaty with a helmet on.”
At Milton's skate park, you won't find anyone wearing a helmet, even though technically it is against the law and you could be slapped with a fine.
The issue is manpower. With an increase in crime and a police department already stretched thin, enforcing a helmet law just isn't a priority.
So the city is getting rid of its helmet law after their insurer argued having one on the books could actually hurt the city.
“They said if you require helmets, and you're not doing the enforcement, then you're open to liability. So it's either all or nothing,” said Milton Police Chief Bill Rhoads.
It's a decision that makes Dr. Fred Rivara nervous.
“It makes me angry because they're putting themselves at risk when they don't need to be,” he said.
The Chief of Pediatrics At Harborview Medical Center in Seattle says it doesn't take fancy skate tricks to put yourself at risk.
“It can be on pavement, on a curve, can result in a lifelong changing injury,” he said.
Milton was one of the few places in the state that required skateboarders to protect their heads..
“The only other park that I know of that has helmets required on West Coast is Newberg Oregon,” said Michels.
But now, it will truly be skate at your own risk.