California helmet bill heads to Governor’s desk

One year after being vetoed by then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a helmet bill that would require skiers and snowboarders younger than 18 to wear helmets is back on the docket. After being approved by the California Legislature on Aug. 15, the bill is now headed for Governor Jerry Brown's desk.
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The California Legislature have again approved legislation to mandate helmet use for skiers and snowboarders younger than 18. Under SB 105 by Senator Leland Yee, approved Aug. 15, minors would be required to wear helmets while skiing and snowboarding. Once received, Governor Jerry Brown will have 12 days to sign or veto the bill.

Last year, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an identical measure, Yee’s SB 880, but vetoed a companion bill that called for ski resorts to develop and publish safety plans. Enactment of SB 880 was contingent on the signing of AB 1652--a bill mandating increased safety signage on California’s slopes--and thus the helmet mandate did not go into effect. 

This year, Yee has reintroduced the bill as a standalone measure.

“It is imperative that we do not have another ski season in which children are left at such serious risk,” Yee said. “California’s ski slopes are perhaps the last area of recreation where we do not have basic safety standards in place for children. I am very pleased this bill received broad, bipartisan support today and I look forward to this legislation becoming a national model for other states to follow.” 

SB 105 will require resorts to post signs about the law on trail maps, websites, and other locations throughout the property. Following the lead of California’s bicycle helmet law, SB 105 will imposed a fine of $25 on the parents of children who fail to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding.

--Peter Kray

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