Requires that persons less than eighteen years of age wear a helmet when riding a horse; imposes a $250 fine for any violation.
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the general business law, in relation to requiring that persons less than eighteen years of age wear a helmet when riding a horse
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This legislation requires that persons less than eighteen years of age wear a helmet when riding a horse.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1. subdivision 1 of Section 1265 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended to increase from 14 to 18 the age in which a person must wear a helmet when riding a horse. Also amends Subdivision 2 of Section 1265 of the vehicle and traffic law to increase the amount of the civil fine from $50 to $250 for violating the provisions of this act. Increases from 14 to 18 the age in which a summons can be issued to a parent or guardian for violating the provisions of this act.
Section 2. Subdivision 2 of Section 396-dd of the general business law, as added by Chapter 455 of the Laws of 1999, is amended to increase from 14 to 18 the age in which a person must be provided with a helmet at no cost beyond the rental fee by horse providers when riding a horse.
Section 3. Provides for an immediate effective date.
Horseback riding is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by more than 30 million people in the United States. It has been estimated that 19 million people aged 16 years and older participating in riding activities. Horseback riding is the eighth leading cause of emergency room treated, sports and recreation related injuries. Horseback riding has been identified as a higher-risk activity than automobile racing, motorcycle riding, football and skiing. Injuries occur while riding or handling horses without discrimination for age or experience level. Approximately 70,000 people are treated in emergency rooms annually because of equestrian-related injuries, while thousands more are treated in physicians' offices. Head injuries account for approximately 60% of deaths resulting from equestrian accidents.
Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce chances of sustaining serious injury. One of the most important pieces of safety equipment is a properly fitting helmet in order to absorb the impact to the head, provide cushioning to the skull and reduce jarring of the brain against the skull. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that wearing helmets reduces head and brain injuries by 85% and the Equestrian
Medical Safety Association strongly recommends the wearing of a properly fitted ASTM/SEI certified equestrian helmet with the harness secured during equestrian activities.
While New York State was one of the first states to adopt a helmet law protecting children, the current law does not adequately protect all children. Currently only children fourteen years of age and under are required to wear a helmet. Changing the age to eighteen years of age would further protect our children, prevent serious injuries, and help save lives.
In 2009 the State of Florida passed "Nicole's Law" requiring children sixteen years of age and under to wear a helmet. "Nicole's Law" was named after Nicole Hornstein, the 12 year old daughter of a Southampton, New York native who now resides back in New York. Nicole died after suffering brain injuries after falling off a horse while not wearing a helmet. Other states like Delaware are introducing and have passed similar strengthened helmet laws.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
New Legislation, 2012
None to the State
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 6546 A. 9366 S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y February 24, 2012 ___________IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. LAVALLE -- read twice and ordered print- ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transporta- tion IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. THIELE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the general business law, in relation to requiring that persons less than eighteen years of age wear a helmet when riding a horse THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivisions 1 and 2 of section 1265 of the vehicle and traffic law, as added by chapter 455 of the laws of 1999, are amended to read as follows: 1. No person less than
[fourteen]EIGHTEEN years of age shall ride a horse unless such person is wearing a helmet meeting or exceeding ASTM F1163 (Safety Equipment Institute certified) Equestrian Standard. For purposes of this section, "certified" shall mean that the helmet's manufacturer agrees to the rules and provisions of a system that includes independent testing and quality control audits, and that each helmet manufactured by such manufacturer is permanently marked with the certifying body's registered mark or logo before such helmet is sold or offered for sale. For the purposes of this section, wearing a helmet means having a helmet fastened securely upon the head using the manufac- turer's fitting guidelines for the particular model used. 2. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall pay a civil fine not to exceed TWO HUNDRED fifty dollars. A police officer shall only issue a summons for a violation of this section by a person less than [fourteen]EIGHTEEN years of age to the parent or guardian of such person if the violation by such person occurs in the presence of such person's parent or guardian and where such parent or guardian is eighteen years of age or more. Such summons shall only be issued to such parent or guardian, and shall not be issued to the person less than [fourteen]EIGHTEEN years of age.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14194-02-2 S. 6546 2 A. 9366
S 2. Subdivision 2 of section 396-dd of the general business law, as added by chapter 455 of the laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows: 2. Every horse provider shall provide protective helmets to beginning riders and to riders less than
[fourteen]EIGHTEEN years of age at no cost beyond the rental fee; offer all riders the use of such protective helmets regardless of their age or experience; and provide appropriate helmet safety information to all riders. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.