The patent begins here in it's original, unedited form:
United States Patent Patent Number: 5,860,492 Talaska Date of Patent: Jan. 19, 1999
HAND-ACTIVATED BRAKE AND METHOD
Inventors: Talaska; Eric C. (Ashdown, AR) Assignee: Controlit, Inc. (Wilmington, DE) Appl. No.: 639683 Filed: April 29, 1996 U.S. Class: 188/5; 280/112; 280/11.22 Intern'l Class: B60T 001/14 Field of Search: 188/5,29,6,7,19,20 280/11.2,11.22,11.19,11.23 References Cited U.S. Patent Documents 1608238 Nov., 1926 Riefschnider 280/826. 1949163 Feb., 1934 Kasten 188/5. 1985726 Dec., 1934 Heldman 280/826. 2129260 Sep., 1938 Bowser 188/5. 2516852 Aug., 1950 Burry et al. 135/72. 2707963 May., 1955 Goynes 135/85. 3561782 Feb., 1971 Tyrack 280/816. 4023817 May., 1977 Lah et al. 280/816. 4288102 Sep., 1981 Ramer 280/823. 4386794 Jun., 1983 Roberts 280/826. 4744584 May., 1988 Monreal 280/809. 5088748 Feb., 1992 Koselka 280/11. 5163710 Nov., 1992 Chirtel et al. 280/809. 5236222 Aug., 1993 Fletcher 280/809. 5251934 Oct., 1993 Gates 280/11. 5253882 Oct., 1993 Mitchell 188/5. 5301704 Apr., 1994 Brown 135/78. 5308093 May., 1994 Walin 280/11. 5312135 May., 1994 Karabees 280/826. 5335924 Aug., 1994 Richards, Sr. et al. 280/11. 5351974 Oct., 1994 Cech 280/11. 5374070 Dec., 1994 Pellegrini 280/11. 5388673 Feb., 1995 Rohner 188/84. 5487552 Jan., 1996 Daoust 280/11. 5564718 Oct., 1996 Mitchell et al. 188/5. 5584491 Dec., 1996 Kronyak, Jr. 280/11. 5647599 Jul., 1997 Visger, et al. 280/11. 5653468 Aug., 1997 Ostapyk 280/809. Foreign Patent Documents 600274-A1 Jun., 1994 EP 280/11. 17625 Aug., 1896 GB 188/5. Primary Examiner: Oberleitner; Robert J. Assistant Examiner: Lipka; Pamela J.
Abstract A new hand-activated brake device and method particularly for in-line roller skates is shown having numerous forms and mounting locations. All forms use direct hand pressure to activate the brake. Optimum slowing, stopping and balance is achieved to include when used in hilly areas. For skaters of all levels: beginner to advanced. Left and right skates can be operated simultaneously or singly. A brake assembly is retrofitted or manufactured to the skate and a rod is pushed by hand. An optional padded elastic strap assembly is provided for holding a rod in an easy to reach position along the outer lower leg area and skate. A brake pad contacts the skating surface and automatically retracts to maintain a desired ground clearance when hand pressure is released. The user need not maintain a constant grip on anything. Has unique safety and convenience features and options.
BACKGROUND 1. Field of Invention This hand-activated brake assembly relates to foot-mounted wheeled vehicles. The most emphasis is placed on in-line roller skates due to their popularity. 2. Description of Prior Art In-line skates allow users great freedom of personal movement. These skates provide a nonpolluting and quiet means for transportation, fitness and fun. The number-one question in-line skaters have is: "How do I stop these things?" In-line skating is thrilling. But when you can't control your speed, the thrill can have detrimental consequences. The number-one cause of skate accidents is the inability to control speed. High speeds can be attained by beginners. Consequentially, many beginning in-line skaters fall often and may lose interest in the sport, unable to attain braking proficiency. This has made many new skaters reluctant to use in-line skates, store them away or return them for a refund. This has also damaged the reputation of in-line skating. Much of the public and media considers the sport unsafe and insane. These problems associated with ineffective skate brakes must be solved in order to allow in-line skating to become a reputably safe as well as an enjoyable sport. Inventing an effective and practical device for slowing and stopping skates has always been challenging. There is only a small amount of space to place skate brakes, unlike other vehicles where limited space is not a major concern. In-line skate brakes cannot protrude anywhere on the inside of the skate because it would scrape upon the ground during leg strokes and could easily interfere with the other skate. In-line skate brakes should use the direct power of the skater's hand. Direct hand pressure to activate the brake will allow the skater to use the total body to maintain the desired balance at all times when braking. The brakes should not use indirect hand pressure with cables to activate the brake. If the brake is mechanically activated, it should have an emergency brake which can be used in the event of a malfunction in the first brake used. In-Line Skating Basics (1996) by Cam Millar describes that "If at any time you feel off-balance or out of control on your skates, bring your hands to your knees. By doing this, you make sure that your knees are slightly bent and that your upper body is in a slightly forward position. This will prevent you from falling backwards. A beginner's stance is hands on knees. Skaters should keep their hands on their knees while gliding. Keep your knees bent at all times when skating downhill. Bring your hands to your knees, stay low, and try to use your brake." It is obvious that the desired skate braking system should be located at the user's knees for activation because this is where skaters should put their hands immediately upon a need for braking or control. This will also allow for a lower center of gravity and prevent any fall backwards. Skate brakes should offer body movement without the interference of cables, levers, belts and straps above the knees. Cable brakes take more time and skill to install. Bulky parts make cable brakes expensive to the consumer. Brake pad wear affects the performance of cable, cuff-activated and heel brakes. Cable and other hand held brakes generally do not allow skaters to wear standard protective wrist guards. The brake should not require the user to hold any type of device in the hand while not engaging the brake. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,312,135 (1994), 5,388,673 (1995) and 5,653,468 (1997) show rods that must be constantly held, severely restricting body movement and balance. Many attempts have been made to market a skate brake that slows one or more skate wheels. This is the wrong approach. There is not enough wheel surface contact with the ground to brake effectively without quickly stripping the vulnerable wheels. When in-line skate wheels are dragged sideways for a skilled "T-stop" the wheels wear quickly and unevenly. As a result, these expensive wheels must be replaced more often and more time is needed to change them. These methods for braking the skate's wheels quickly make random flat spots on the wheels, creating a bumpy and dangerous ride. Braking the wheels gently to avoid flat spots on the wheels will not provide enough braking power to safely and ideally control speed. The most widely used skate brake is the standard heel brake. It requires the skater to shift the weight of the non-braking foot, thrust the braking foot forward, and glide on the opposite foot all while re-shifting body weight to the braking foot to engage the ground with the brake pad of the braking foot. Sound confusing? It is, especially in practice. It is like a golf swing. You have to do a lot of things right--all at once. According to Popular Mechanics Magazine, "this method has serious drawbacks and does not deliver genuine stopping power." The required pivot arc forces the skater to jeopardize balance in order to apply the brake. If not precisely mastered, the skater will lose control and spin. But that's not all. As the brake pad wears, the required pivot arc increases. This further complicates balance. The longer the wheel frame on any skate, the more problematic the standard heel braking technique becomes. A longer frame such as those found on speed and fitness skates is difficult to pivot on the rear wheel. It becomes more like trying to pivot a ski. Consequently most speed skaters do not or cannot use the standard heel brake. The desired brake does not require this pivot and can be used on fitness and speed skates. When skaters pivot a toe up and a heel back, they do not use a strong muscle group. They use a weak leg muscle group. The desired brake should use stronger arm muscle groups where more energy is available when legs get tired from skating a length of time. Skaters can skate for a longer time due to less leg stress with such a brake. Because the standard heel brake requires the skater to "ride" on the brake with all but one wheel off the ground, it is particularly dangerous on rough surfaces, bumps and gravel. The desired brake can be more safely activated on these surfaces. The cuff-activated brake, currently dominated by one company, is activated by thrusting the equipped skate forward and putting pressure against the cuff (upper portion) of the one skate. This causes discomfort due to the pressure applied against the user's upper ankle. The brake is problematic because it's brake requires the user to hyper-extend a knee, especially as the brake pad wears. Hyper extending a knee can easily aggravate the knee if it is less than strong, This type of brake must have a brake pad placed dangerously close to the ground at all times and therefore can be unintentionally activated. As the brake pad wears, the skater must slide the braking foot farther forward. Therefore adjustments are often needed. The desired skate brake should not require inconvenient adjustments and should not demand unhealthy knee extensions. Another disadvantage of both the cuff-activated and standard heel brakes is the problem of brake pad wear while descending long hills. As the brake pad wears the skater must constantly compensate for the pivot arc or the sliding of the braking foot. This is a major safety hazard when descending long hills because the user cannot adjust the brake pad if equipped with a cuff-activated brake while skating as the brake pad wears. The skater cannot replace the standard heel brake while skating as the brake pad wears. As a result the brake could fail when it is needed the most. The desired skate brake will never require any adjustments to compensate for brake pad wear for safety and convenience reasons. U.S. Pat. No. 5,335,924 (1994) Richards, Sr. et. al. shows in its first embodiment a heel-activated braking system for in-line skates that is activated by tilting the equipped skate to release a normally compressed spring system that pushes a braking pad to the ground. There are many problems with the first embodiment. In order to activate the brake, the skater must pivot the braking foot. Thus the brake has the same problems associated with other heel-activated brakes such as the awkward pivot arc, steps to be proficient at and raising wheels off the a ground. In order to deactivate the brake the skater must come to a complete stop, squat down and reach behind the skate to grasp the hand knob, pivot the foot, lifting the front wheels off the ground to compress the spring and insert a flat rod into another rod slot. The brake is complex and difficult to manufacture and/or retrofit onto existing skates. Brake pad wear increases the required pivot arc for activation. There are many problems with the second embodiment of the patent of Richards Sr., et al. There is a great risk that the skate will be lifted from the rear when the skater pulls on the cable. This would cause the skater to lose balance control as the rear wheels lift off the ground. Braking power is increased in conjunction with how hard the skater pulls up on the handle. The harder the cable is pulled, the more the rear wheels lift off the ground; therefore optimum braking power cannot be achieved. U.S. Pat. No. 5,647,599 (1997) Visger et al. shows a hand-activated braking system that includes a semi-rigid shaft. The shaft is pulled upwardly for activation. This has the following serious problems: Like the Richards, Sr. et al. device described above, pulling upwards produces more stress upon the fingers than if the hand were pushing downwardly. A bulky hand knob is required. Braking power is limited because as the user pulls upwardly, the rear of the skate is also lifted because the axle is pulled upon. This is very dangerous. The system is designed for minimum ground clearance; therefore a larger, longer wearing brake pad cannot be used. The system does not have an automatic means for retraction and can therefore drag upon the skating surface. A means for retraction would cause the frontal area to be dangerously close to the skating surface. Many patents show hand-activated cable-assisted skate brakes. U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,718 (1996) describes a system, like all other cable-assisted brakes, intended for the sole purpose of cable assistance where the user inconveniently routes a long cable and band grip up his or her body. It is not intended for use with a rod that would provide direct hand pressure to the movable brake pad. It is permanently confined to the skate and is difficult to retrofit onto other skates. Structurally complicated solutions have been proposed. They require the use of many parts and are difficult to industrialize. None of the above inventions and patents, taken either in combination or singly, describes the structure, function and result of the instant hand-activated brake and method claimed.
OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES Accordingly, several objects and advantages of my hand-activated brake are: (a) to provide a braking method which requires minimum skills to attain thereby eliminating the need to hire and pay for a certified instructor and is easily activated without the loss of balance, allowing the user to brake without the need to raise any wheels off the skating surface or hyper-extend a knee; (b) to provide a skate brake which allows the user to maintain a desirable braking control and stability hands-to-knees stance; (c) to provide a skate brake which can be activated by using hand and arm muscles where more energy is available after legs get tired, allowing user to skate longer periods of time due to less leg stress; (d) to provide a skate brake which can be utilized on the left or right skate singly or simultaneously for added balance, power, decreased braking distance and an emergency brake; (e) to provide a skate brake which allows skaters to slow and stop while descending hills that are difficult and dangerous to skate down safely with other brake systems; (f) to provide a skate brake that does not interfere with body movement and offers compatibility with all protective gear; (g) to provide a skate brake that does not require holding or gripping any object; (h) to provide a skate brake that automatically retracts and provides a high amount of brake ground clearance to clear surface debris or objects and cannot be accidentally activated; (i) to provide a skate brake where brake pad wear does not effect performance and does not necessitate any adjustments; (j) to provide a skate brake that allows quick and easy removal and installation of skates; (k) to provide a skate brake that easily and quickly retrofits and transfers to other skates; (l) to provide a skate brake that is mountable in conjunction with other original brakes; (m) to provide a skate brake which is mechanically simple, light-weight, inexpensive and requires minimum maintenance; and (n) to provide a skate brake which can be manufactured on skates or produced as a retrofitting accessory for most models. Other objects and advantages are to provide a skate brake which can be easily grasped singly or dually for carrying, to provide a skate brake which can easily be adjusted to suit different user needs and leg lengths, and to provide a skate brake which allows the adaption of larger than usual brake pads for longer wear limits.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view of a skate incorporating a prior art standard heel brake. FIG. 2 is a side view of a skate incorporating a prior art standard heel disc brake. FIG. 3 is a side view of a skate incorporating a prior art standard cuff-activated brake. FIG. 4 is a side view of a retrofitting upgrade device with dashes illustrating a connection path to a skate incorporating a cuff-activated brake. FIG. 5 is a side view of a brake device fitted on a skate and strapped on a user's knee guard or leg. FIG. 6 is a front view of a user's right leg wearing brake device incorporated on a skate. FIG. 7 is a top or bottom view of a padded strap device that holds a rod to a user's leg. FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a retracted brake device retrofitted on a skate. FIG. 9 is a perspective view of FIG. 8 in the activated and extended position. FIG. 10 is a detailed perspective view of a retrofit type brake device. FIG. 11 is a detailed perspective view of a retrofit type brake device. FIG. 12 is a side view of an extended brake device retrofitted on a skate. FIG. 13 is a side view of an extended brake device retrofitted on a skate. FIG. 14 is a side view of a retracted brake device retrofitted on a speed skate. FIG. 15 is a side view of a brake device retrofitted on a two or four-wheeled skate. FIG. 16 is a detailed perspective view of a retrofit strapless type brake device. FIG. 17 is a detailed top view of a retrofit strapless type brake device. FIG. 18 is a rear view of retrofitted strapless brake devices being user-activated. FIG. 19 is a side view of a person wearing retrofitted brake devices. FIG. 20 is a side view of an extended strapless brake device manufactured on a skate. FIG. 21 is a side view of a retracted strapless brake device manufactured on a skate. FIG. 22 is a side view of a retracted strapless brake device manufactured on a skate. FIG. 23 is a side view of FIG. 22 in the extended position. FIG. 24 is a side view of a retracted strapless brake device manufactured on a skate. FIG. 25 is a side view of FIG. 24 with a flipped upside-down brake pad. FIG. 26 is side view of FIGS. 24 and 25 with a roller instead of a fixed pad. FIG. 27 is a side view of a retracted strapless brake device retrofitted on a skate. FIGS. 28 and 29 are side views of retracted strapless brake devices retrofitted on a skate. FIGS. 30 and 31 are side views of frontal brake devices manufactured on a skate.
REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS 49 frame, wrap around type 50 brake frame, typical in-line 52 brake frame, speed skate 56 brake pad to brake frame connection 57 brake pad to rod connection 58 brake roller pad to rod connection 60 brake pad to rod connection 68 brake pad 69 brake roller pad 70 brake roller pad between wheels 72 brake pad between wheels, reversible 78 rod and brake frame pivot connection 80 rod and brake frame pivot, speed skate 86 recess or seat, speed skate 100 brake assembly, basic retrofit 102 brake assembly, roller glide type 102(A) brake assembly, roller glide type 106 cuff-activated brake transformation to hand-activated device 110 brake assembly, dual pivoting 110(A) brake assembly, roller pad type 112 brake assembly, shoe mounted, sliding type 114 brake assembly, between wheel type 116 brake assembly, single pivot on skate 116(A) brake assembly, single pivot on skate 118 brake assembly with front-mounted brake pad 122 brake pad wheel frame mount on skate 125 cuff-activated brake assembly 126 cuff-activated brake rod 127 cuff-activated brake pad frame 130 cuff-activated brake member transformation to hand-activated rod 132 cuff-activated brake mounting bolt 134 cuff-activated brake mounting nut 146 retracting compression spring 148 spring means, normally compressed 150 lower rod, with adj. means 152 rod slidingly attached to skate 156L left side lower rod for roller glide 156R right side or inner lower rod for roller glide 160 shaft or protrusion for gliding rod 162 shaft or protrusion for gliding rod 164 bearings or rollers for gliding rod 166 glide holder, skate to rod attach. 168 glide holder hole 172 spring recess, retainer or stopper 176 gliding roller between rods 176(A) gliding roller for single rod 188 rod adjustment knob or holding means 190 reflective tape 194 upper rod with single adjustment means 196 handle, grip, knob or grasping device 198 rod assembly, sliding 198A rod assembly, slidingly attached 200 rod 201 rod, pivotal speed skate type 202 rod, slidingly attached to skate shaft 205 rod for brake between wheels 208 rod, with wheel frame pivot 210 rod, pivots on wheel frame axle 214 rod for front roller pad mounted to cuff 216 rod for front roller pad, mounted to frame 241 axle of rear, four-wheeled skate 242 axle pivot connection of a wheel 244 hub or axle pivot 248 wheel hub bolt and nut 252 wheel, typical in-line skate 254 wheel, speed skate 262 frame member for wheels of skate 264 frame member for speed skate wheels 266 frame member for wheels, specially cut 268 rivet for sliding rod, skate wheel frame to rod attachment 270 rivet extension on cuff 272 rivet joint for cuff and shoe 274 rivet for sliding rod, skate to rod 282 cuff, typical in-line skate 292 shell of shoe or boot, typical in-line skate 292(A) shoe or boot, typical in-line skate 294 shoe, speed skate 300 elastic material 302 elastic strap device 306 cushion pad attachment points 310 cushion pad 314 hole in strap device between strap and pad for holding rod 320 hook and loop fasteners 351 speed skate 361 in-line skate, typical 364 four-wheeled skate, typical 378 knee pad or guard 381 leg of user 391 ground or skating surface
SUMMARY A hand-activated skate method and assembly which can be retrofitted or manufactured on skates to provide optimum slowing and stopping power. A mechanically simple brake which is easily activated by way of direct hand pressure. Usable on left and right skates singly or simultaneously.
DESCRIPTION-MAIN EMBODIMENT The preferred embodiment of the present hand-activated brake is illustrated in FIGS. 5 (side view), 7 (top view), 10 (perspective view) and 19 (side view). Going downhill backwards and applying the brake is dangerous and not recommended. This danger is reduced when frame is lengthened (see frame 50 in FIG. 5 for an example). It is preferred to have about 3-7cm. distance (or more if the skater anticipates skating in a hilly area) between the brake pad and the axle. An analogy may me made when comparing in-line skates to motorcycles. Some off-road dirt bikes are specially equipped with extra long wheel frames for use in very hilly areas. This makes the bike more stable and reduces the tendency for the bike to flip backwards or forwards. In FIG. 5 a brake assembly 110 comprises of a brake pad frame 50 which is connected to skate 361 on skate's wheel frame 262 on a rear hub or axle 242. Pivot point 78 connects the brake pad frame and lower rod 150. Connecting bolt 188 connects rods 150 and 194 together. The brake assembly of FIG. 5 is retracted by way of a spring 148. In the preferred embodiment, the brake frame is a light-weight alloy and is attached to a rear hub or axle 242 of the wheel frame; however the brake frame can consist of any other material that can remain rigid under stress, such as rigid plastics, composites, fiberglass, and metals. The preferred brake frame is a single piece to retrofit skates of any frame width. The brake frame is pivotally attached to wheel frame 262. To accomplish this, the axle or hub point 242 must be long enough to secure frame 50. A locknut should be used to allow a pivot with minimum friction and a secure hub bolt. When retrofitted, it is preferred to replace the stock or original rear hub bolt with one about one cm. longer with a fitting locknut. The locknut should be tightened all the way in and then loosened about two turns. The loosening about two turns provides pivoting of the brake assembly. Brake pad 68 can any shape, size, form or composition so long as it fits securely to the brake frame 50 and can frictionally interact against a skating surface. A preferred brake pad should be made out of a durable rubber intended for ground engagement. Due to the high ground clearance available, the brake pad is preferred to be as large as possible to last long and offer more surface braking. The brake pad attachment 56 is a locknut and a bolt, but can be any other device for attaching brake pad securely such as a screw. Preferably the brake pad is shaped to fit into the brake frame in a manner that the brake pad is seated in the brake frame at the top of the brake pad. Pivot assembly 78 comprises a locknut and bolt. Pivot assembly 78 is the connecting point of brake frame 50 and the rod. The pivot assembly should be constructed as to minimize friction by utilizing friction reducing washers. A length adjustable upper rod 194 is connected to rod 150 with an adjustment knob or screw 188. Rod 194 is shown in detail in FIG. 10 Rod 194 slidingly fits into or onto rod 150. Rod 194 is held place with knob 188. Knob 188 should be assembled with a lock washer (not shown) for preventing the knob from coming loose. Rod 194 is contoured to adjustably fit any lower rod. A handle or knob 196 is the top-most part of the hand-activated brake. This handle can be any size, shape, form or material as long as it fits well in a hand and is firmly attached to a rod with either glue or any other fastening device. The handle can be a fixed part of the rod and does not necessarily have to be a separate part. The handle should be made out of a soft rubber material for maximum comfort when pushing. An optional piece of reflective tape 190 is mounted or affixed to the highest spot possible of the upper rod. A normally compressed spring 148 is attached to the lower rod 150 or frame 50. Spring 148 can be any type of spring as long as it retracts to its original shape when used under stressful conditions. Its hooks should be made of a metal and should be strong enough to pull the entire brake assembly upwards repeatedly. The top end of the spring is placed or mounted on the skate. The spring can be hooked over the top of a skate so long as the spring is stable when used. A strap assembly 302 of FIGS. 5 and 7 comprises of an elastic strap 300, a cushion pad 310, a hole 314, and a hook and loop fastener assembly or Velcro assembly 320. The hook and loop assembly should be sewn to the elastic strap at about 50 percent of the strap length to allow different fitting options. The elastic strap should be long enough to be fitted around any size of a user's leg. It should be about 3 cm. wide and 30 cm. long. Cushion pad 310 should be any kind of strong and comfortable pad about 6 cm. by 6 cm. and should be permanently sewn or glued onto the strap at two of the pad's side attachment points 306 so as to allow hole 314 to exist. This hole needs to be large enough to allow above rods to slide up and down in it and small enough to contain the rods from moving outwards or sideways. The strap device is worn by the user around a leg 381 and preferably around and with a knee pad or guard 378. The strap can be built onto the knee guard. Or the knee guard's lowest strap can be used to replace strap 302. It will be appreciated that there can be other variations of the hand-activated braking assembly shown here without departing from the spirit of the hand-activated brake. The described embodiment is the most preferred embodiment of the inventor; however it should be clear that improvements are possible as more research, development, testing, and observation time all increase.
OPERATION-MAIN EMBODIMENT The method and use of the present brake assembly of this hand-activated brake will now be explained. The method and use of the invention is simple. The method includes using a brake assembly 110 to slow or stop the skate, with the assembly being hand-activated by a rod 194 or extension so as to bring a brake pad 68 that is operatively connected to the carriage or frame member 50 into contact with the skating surface 391. This method permits the user to activate the brake without changing the angle of the skate itself relative to the ground-that is, the user need not lift or lower the heel or toe of the skate. Further, the user need not slide a foot forward in order to move a cuff back. The method of this hand-activated brake further includes the option of using two brakes, one on each skate and includes using a strap assembly 302 to secure the upper rod 194 needed to activate the brake. An emergency braking method involves using the other non-failing brake assembly or lifting the toe of the skate so that the skate can then be stopped like a traditional heel-activated skate brake, depending on the ground clearance of the brake pad. All of the various components necessary to carry out this method have already been explained. The steeper the braking area, the more both brakes should be used. In addition, two brakes should be used when stopping as quickly as possible as needed in congested areas and at higher speeds. The rods can be adjusted by unscrewing the adjustment knob 188. Then the upper rod slides up or down until a desired height is accomplished. The adjustment knob is then screwed in securely. Hand tightening is sufficient if the knob is large enough to provide hand leverage and one or two lock-washers are used. For safety reasons, the user should operate the brake while slightly leaned forward. This provides a better center of gravity and lessens the chance of a rearward fall. The user should not attempt to accomplish higher speed braking until the user gets used to the new method. A special helmet designed for skating should be worn as it provides more back of the head protection than a bicycle helmet. Wearing wrist guards does not affect brake activation and is recommended for added safety. In addition wrist guards absorb pressure from applying the brake resulting in added comfort. Safety reflective tape 190 should be located at the top of the rod and in a place where the strap assembly will not block its view. The higher location is more visible because of the line of sight is usually at a motorist or pedestrian eye level. The brake assembly also includes a method for retrofitting the brake to an existing skate. This retrofitted method includes removing the axle or brake bolt from a wheel or part of an existing skate; placing the pivot point of the brake frame member over the axle; and then replacing the axle or brake bolt so as to secure the structure in place. A longer than original bolt may be needed due to the possible extra width of the brake frame. If an original brake frame was removed from the hub area, then a longer hub bolt may not be necessary. This is especially the case if the retrofitting brake frame is the same size or smaller than the removed original brake frame. Furthermore, both activation and deactivation of the braking device is very simple, so as to allow to obtain a device which is structurally simple and easy to industrialize and can also be easily applied to known skates. When applied to known skates, some small hardware changes may be necessary such as providing a longer hub or axle bolt (not shown in detail). It should be apparent to one skilled in the art that numerous changes and adaptations can be made that will make the brake operate differently. Naturally, the materials and the dimensions which constitute the individual component operation of the device of the present invention may be the most pertinent according the specific requirements.