Pat Milberry. One rider who won't be bummed about the potential law.

Pat Milberry. One rider who won't be bummed about the potential law.

The California State Congress passed two separate bills in the senate and assembly yesterday to require helmet use by minors on the slopes. In a 21-13 bipartisan vote, the California State Senate resoundingly approved a bill that would require all children under 18 to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding on the state’s slopes.  According to SB 880, authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), parents of helmetless hooligans would be subject to a maximum fine of $25 and resorts would be required to post signs and information about the law.

In the assembly, AB1652, which would require ski resorts to enforce the helmet requirement and also publish reports on how many people are injured or killed on the slopes each year, was approved 42-29. The measure put forth by Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, is opposed by ski industry representatives, due to legal liabilities and enforcement concerns.

The bills still need to be passed by the other portion of the state congress before they go to Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk for final approval, but the heavy aye votes, as well as the backing of groups such as the following, are making this appear more and more likely:
California Psychological Association,  American College of Emergency Physicians, California Brain Injury Association, California´s Children´s Hospital Association, California Chiropractic Association, California Hospital Association, California Medical Association, California Nurses Association, California Psychiatric Association, California Travel Industry Association, Children´s Advocacy Institute, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology.

Helmet manufacturers and resort ski and snowboard shops have got to be inwardly rooting for the new bill to become law as it would without a doubt send helmet sales through the roof. California boasts more snowsports participants and more snowboarders than any other state. In fact, according to SIA, 19.4% of all snowboarders, or nearly 1.5 million shreds, call California home. That’s a lot of helmets, but also a lot of forced helmet use by potentially pissed off riders.

SIA reported that high profile injuries helped helmet sales reach an all time high this year of 1.2 million units, and that’s without a law.

We’d like to know what you think of the situation below.

Click here to read SB 880.

[poll id=”92″]