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Bill would mandate ski helmets for youths under 14

2011-04-12T20:00:00Z 2011-04-13T10:18:40Z Bill would mandate ski helmets for youths under 14JON ALEXANDER -- Glens Falls Post-Star

Skiers and snowboarders under age 14 may soon be required to wear helmets as a result of legislation drafted by state Sen. Elizabeth Little.

Her bill is moving through the state's upper house and it has bipartisan support.

"This is modeled after the bicycle helmet law," Little, R-Queensbury, said. "Requiring kids to wear a helmet is a reasonable and smart approach."

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously backed the bill Tuesday.

A very similar, but not identical bill, is currently being considered in the Assembly. The Assembly version is sponsored by Assemblywoman RoAnne Destito, D-Rome.

"The difference is that Betty's bill would require the back of lift tickets to include language about the law," said Little's spokesman, Dan MacEntee.

Destito's bill enjoys a broad bipartisan support. But the movement of Destito's bill has slowed since she was nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in February to run the state Office of General Services.

North Country Assemblywomen Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro, and Janet Duprey, R-Peru, have co-sponsored the Assembly draft.

"RoAnne (Destito) believes, as do I, that the ski centers should be able to post the information wherever they wanted," Sayward said. "If both pass the respective houses, the sponsors would just have to sit down and see where they could agree."

Charles "Chic" Wilson, owner of Willard Mountain in Greenwich, said while his mountain aggressively pushes pro-helmet education to area youths, the idea of government imposing further mandates on people is disconcerting.

He's also concerned about the workability of such legislation.

"How are we supposed to check IDs on kids that don't carry IDs," Wilson said. "It has to be something that we have half a chance of being able to comply with."

Unlike previous helmet legislation, the current draft wouldn't hold ski areas liable for non-compliance.

The Ski Areas of New York Inc., which represents dozens of ski mountains, is supporting the legislation.

"I would be receptive to something that we could live with," Wilson said. "But I prefer to let the parents make those kind of decisions."

Sayward said Destito's bills would be picked up by other members if she is confirmed to the OGS job.

If the Senate bill survives Albany, it would impose up to $50 "fix it" fines on the parent or guardian of a child under 14 not wearing a helmet while skiing or snowboarding. Under the current draft, the fine would be tossed out of local court if the guardian could prove a helmet had been purchased.

"This would give mom and dad some added authority by being able to say to their children that it's the law, you can't hit the slopes without your helmet," Little said.

The bill would require mountains to maintain helmets in stock for sale or rent and post notifications of the helmet requirement.

Enforcement of the law would fall to the individual ski centers and local police.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. northstar
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    northstar - April 14, 2011 8:43 am
    There's no short answer. Since our hospitals offer trauma care without asking for money in advance, the taxpayer may get hit in the wallet every time there is a ski crash survival. So, to save money, helmets should be banned because they increase survival rates and therefore increase hospital costs for uninsured/under-insured skiers, which will very likely hit the taxpayers, one way or another. However, I have a suspicion that the same people who believe they have a right to live however they choose are the same people who hate to pay for "someone else's" accidents. How do you resolve that? Everyone knows that every action in life involves risk. Should we protect against risks, or should we hit risks head-on? It's a gamble with taxpayer money if you can't afford the hospital bill or haven't signed a DNR.
  2. incrediblywellinformed
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    incrediblywellinformed - April 13, 2011 10:09 pm

    I am beginning to think you and Indie are roommates. You are so paranoid!
  3. boston
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    boston - April 13, 2011 5:57 pm
    What we need is a law forcing us into an unbreakable bubble with local, state, unelected regional, and federal enforcement persons from all branches, and departments 24/7 to make sure I can't hurt myself. More laws, more lawyers, more governemt to enforce. Getting like jolly old England, but actually more like Nazi Germany. Has your 6 year old daughter been put through the TSA scanner, most reported at 10 the level of radiation marked on the machine, and had her juck touched yet?
  4. rdc
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    rdc - April 13, 2011 3:57 pm
    what she accomplishes is getting a gold star and another line on her resume/website. Guess it really is time to second guess voting for her again.
  5. PitaMax
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    PitaMax - April 13, 2011 1:12 pm
    One last thought... if a ski center is out of stock on a helmet size, are they now liable because a kid within a family who drove two hours to ski for the day can't go skiing? Com'on Betty, think through your proposed legislation! What are you really going to accomplish here?!?!?

  6. PitaMax
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    PitaMax - April 13, 2011 1:08 pm
    Betty Little really needs to be voted out of office. Nothing good ever comes out of her. Now she is pushing this legislation, trying to bring about more gov't laws that will only serve to raise the overhead cost on ski mountains in NY that already run on slim margins. Lovely concept of making it a law, yet making someone else pay for and be liable for enforcing it. Along those lines, why aren't the local police on bike trails enforcing the helmet laws? Absurd. Don't our elected officials have better things to focus their time on other than making laws that revolve around common sense. Let Darwinism kick in here, no reason to make a law about it and keep making NY a more expensive place to live or do business within.
  7. oilheet
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    oilheet - April 13, 2011 11:27 am
    Totally agree here - our "lawmakers" have nothing better to do than be influenced by $$Lobbyists$$ who represent insurance companies - the more babysitting we do with laws "for our own safety" - the less the insurance claims are. Funny though - have you ever seen an insurance company drop it's rates???
    From seatbelts to cigarettes, to just about anything you can think of, we can thank these people for our ever-declining freedoms.
  8. rdc
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    rdc - April 13, 2011 9:53 am
    The proposed law doesn't go far enough: until they are 21, all humans should wear helmets at all times. Actually, dogs and cats should probably be included as well. Farm animals might also need this protection, at least until they go to slaughter. And old people - they should be wrapped in bubble-wrap and strapped to comfy chairs. Next bill on the agenda: rats - for or against?
  9. middleclaz
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    middleclaz - April 13, 2011 9:44 am
    Skiing is expensive enough without madating $100+ helmets that kids grow out of every year. If a parent can afford to and wants to buy them great but the whole idea is just going to put burden ski area's and increase law suits.
  10. nottheaverageguy
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    nottheaverageguy - April 13, 2011 7:01 am
    I've seen smaller kids who's helmets were too heavy and actually created more problems for thier balance. They need to be feather weight made of carbon fiber or kevlar so little kids don't "break thier necks" just getting to the "comercial ski slopes" cross country should be left out of it completely.
  11. EnoughIsEnough
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    EnoughIsEnough - April 13, 2011 6:34 am
    Welcome to the Nanny State where we legislate your personal choices and do nothing to improve the job market or lower taxes.

    How long before we are all required to were a helmet when we go for a walk?

    Enough is Enough.
  12. incrediblywellinformed
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    incrediblywellinformed - April 12, 2011 11:03 pm
    I understand a lot of the points being made here, but do you feel the same about baby seats in cars?

    Just a question? I think parents should be responsible enough to put helmets on fearless kids, who ski and board down mountains, but we still have people who ride with babies on their laps in their cars.
  13. patcher
    Report Abuse
    patcher - April 12, 2011 9:51 pm
    Here they go again, sticking their nose in places it doesn't belong. Why can't they just try to do their jobs and leave us alone...they seem to have a knack for screwing things up.
  14. retired
    Report Abuse
    retired - April 12, 2011 9:47 pm
    Why can't the state and federal government get their noses out of everyone's business and do their job such as passing on-time budgets more than once every five to ten years. It is so easy for them to evade doing what it important, and tell the taxpayers what they must do.
    I guess that if our teen age grand children happen over and put a pair of cross country skis on in our level front yard, that a summons will be issued unless they have a helmet on. Maybe they should include a seat belt for sliding saucers and sleds.
  15. bubba
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    bubba - April 12, 2011 9:20 pm
    Aren't there more pressing issues in Albany than laws that protect ourselves from ourselves? Please, It's not for the children. It's for the bill sponsors. Responsible parents do their jobs WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INTRUSION! Albany, figure it out!
    Report Abuse
    LUZERNEMTN - April 12, 2011 8:42 pm
    Enough with all the laws. Let people do as they choose. Wear a helmet and get a bit of added safety or your choice and don't wear one. Accidents happen and all the laws in the world can not prevent them. The owner of Willard is correct in his statements. Its another law that will be almost impossible to enforce. Maybe the State police can get off the Nway giving tickets and go to the ski slopes. Most kids and adults today wear helmets anyway.


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