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NY Assemblyman Proposes Ski Helmet Law

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – Skiing is a 1 Billion dollar industry in upstate New York. A downstate Assemblyman wants Skiers and Snowboarders to be required to wear protective headgear on the slopes...Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Felix Ortiz is perhaps best-known for his cell-phone legislation: he's introduced other controversial measures like the recent proposal to ban salt from restaurant food, that have led some to believe Ortiz favors "Big Brother" style government. The Assemblyman first introduced a ski helmet mandate in 1998, after the skiing deaths of Congressman Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy.

A trade group has issued a memo of opposition to the bill. Scott Brandi, President of Ski Areas of New York Inc.,is for helmet safety, but against the government mandating ski areas to enforce a helmet law. He anticipates insurance and liability issues would surface as well. Brandi says he'd rather see a bill introduced that mirrors the bicycle helmet law, which would require all skiers under the age of 14 to don protective headgear.

Even without legislative action, the use of helmets has gained in popularity. A survey by the National Ski Areas Association found that 48 percent of all skiers and snowboarders wore helmets during the 2007-08 season.