New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill that requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding. The law leaves the helmet decision up to parents or legal guardians, as they are responsible for paying fines up to $25 for their kids’ violation.
While many applaud the new law, some snowsports helmet manufacturers are opposed to the new legislation. The helmet manufacturers worry that there is no wide understanding of what makes a good helmet and that this law may push parents and kids to believe their helmet is keeping them safe, when it might not be a fully-protective helmet.
“I’d say this is a lot of the cart before the horse,” said Kirsten Andrae, general manager of Briko North America. “I’d like to see laws about what constitutes a good helmet first. There is still a hell of lot of leeway between what is sold as a helmet in this country and what is good protection for your child’s head.”
Many supporters hope to see New Jersey’s legislation influence other states around the country to enact similar legislation in hopes of making the slopes safer, and to reduce the amount of injuries and deaths on the slopes.
The fact that New Jersey has a limited number of ski areas consisting of Mountain Creek, Campgaw and Hidden Valley, it will be easy to record and study the results from the new legislation. With this in mind, other states in the country can make the decision to enact similar legislation, based on success or failure in New Jersey.