Ski Safety Bill Advances in Senate

Betty Little

April 12, 2011

            Legislation sponsored by Senator Betty Little to improve skiing safety was advanced by the  Senate Judiciary Committee today.

Little is sponsoring a bill (S4356) that would require skiers and snowboarders under fourteen years of age to wear a protective helmet when skiing at New York ski areas.  The New York State Ski Industry supports the measure.

            “This is modeled after the bicycle helmet law,” said Little.  “Skiing is a relatively safe sport made safer by the use of a helmet.  More people are wearing helmets each year recognizing that a traumatic brain injury is life altering.  Requiring kids to wear a helmet is a reasonable and smart approach.”

            Little said ski areas would post signs at their information boards and on site locations where lift tickets are sold notifying guests of the law.  Lift tickets would also include language about the law and ski areas would need to maintain a reasonable inventory of helmets for sale or rent.

            A civil penalty not to exceed $50 would be waived by showing proof between the date of the violation and court appearance date that a helmet has been purchased.  The parent or guardian of the child not wearing a helmet would be issued the summons by local law enforcement.

            “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.”