Oregon to mandate helmets in contests and demos for all ages?


Oregon Live reporting on an annoying law mandating helmets for anyone under the age of 18 who rides a skateboard or a bike (Seriously, how did our population survive until the new millennia?) is bad enough. But the companion bill leaves the choice out of the hands of adults should they choose to enter a contest or participate in a public demo:

Senate Bill 741: Requires person of any age to wear helmet when using bicycle, skateboard, scooter, in-line skates or roller skates when participating in organized exhibition, competition or contest.

It’s not a law yet, but has been introduced to the state senate by Chris Edwards.

– Thanks to Mac for the tip.

Senate Bill 741: Read the full text here.

I’m shocked. Stunned. What is the purpose? Consider the context, it’s a law requiring helmets only under a certain circumstance. It’s OK to engage in the activity without a helmet, but as soon as you do it for an audience you must wear one? For what purpose? To make a good impression on youth? You can’t legislate mandatory role model behavior, otherwise we’d have to outlaw Tap Out clothing and ICP makeup.

Yes, I make my kids wear a helmet when they skate, scooter or ride a bike. That should be my choice as their guardian. It should also be my own choice if I want to wear a helmet in a competition or demo, not that I’ll ever be in that position again.

NOTE: Please use civility in discussing this matter or attempting to contact the Senator. Likewise, any asinine or counterproductive comments will be deleted from this post. If you can’t discuss the issue like an adult, don’t drag us all down with you.

LIKE the Stop Oregon Senate Bill 741 page on Facebook


  1. This is a bad bill that will put more people at risk than it will help ‘save’. Before these hypocrites push this down our throats they need to ban football and hockey and require people who play soccer and basketball and their cheerleaders wear helmets as well.

    • I don’t understand how it will put more people at risk, I have to disagree with that. My beef is leaving the choice out of the hands of adults. If we legislate role model behavior by adults then you might as well shut down all of art, music, entertainment and critical thought too.

      • This type of law will lead to requiring everyone to wear a helmet at all times. Already the other bill proposed at the same time as this, 742, raises the age to 18. Why does this put people at risk? If enforced it will discourage public park use and skaters are more than 40X more likely to die skating out of a place made to skate than on one.

        Even if you don’t buy the slippery slope argument this will lead to more ‘bum rush the spot’ contests which run without permits and usually at a street spot, bringing in more health hazards than a contest at a park would.

  2. Bill 742 is just as important. It brings the helmet age to 18 and expands it to cover private property in addition to public, so DoS and backyard ramps would be regulated as well.

  3. Brandon on March 25, 2013 - Reply

    This law is not right it is going to harm more than help the skateboarders are extremely attached to there traditional ways per say, something like a helmet can ruin a session and hurt the skateparks many skateboarders avoid parks with helmet rules solely because of the enforcement I choose to wear a helmet on some areas when necessary, also I have witnessed the NYC pier 62 thrive without helmet rules skateboarders are extremely happy with the park and its atmosphere that’s what Oregon needs not helmet enforcement

  4. zeno01 on March 25, 2013 - Reply

    Let those who ride, decide.
    (I wear one, so I’m a nerd).

  5. Those senate bills can bite it!

  6. brock75 on March 26, 2013 - Reply

    For a state that hates California, you guys sure are biting our style with your helmet laws. It really is just used as ramdom harrasment here. Kids ride skooters with no lid all over, and then kids get popped at the skatepark for not having a helmet. There will be no justice in the enforcement. The cops hate it for the most part too because they know that they are giving some poor kid a ticket that they are not going to pay, and thus creating a greater problem such as arrest warrants for unpiad helmet tickets issued to the parents of the child. basically, it is pretty much a crime to leave your house these days.

  7. I remember reading maybe 10 years ago that Australia’s ‘Helmets all the time’ rule for cyclists had an overall negative effect on health. The theory was that the negative effect of making a lot of cyclists simply stop and get less exercise wasn’t outweighed by slightly fewer crushed skulls per year.

    Could be bullshit but I can see the argument. I know I’d use my bike a lot less if I always had to wear a helmet. Maybe it works the same way with skateboards.

    There is also the issue of perceived risk. The last time I skated a park fully helmeted and padded I broke my leg…

  8. SkatePNW on March 26, 2013 - Reply

    From Oregon Live:
    “Eugene Democrat Sen. Chris Edwards, who calls himself a regular cyclist, sponsored both bills. He said they came about after talking with a friend’s son who is a sponsored skateboard competitor. The skater told Edwards he didn’t wear a helmet in competition because he thought he’d be judged down for it.”

    I’ve talked with kids that felt they would lose style points for wearing pads and a helmet during a comp, but surely this is an overreaction on the part of the Senator.

  9. waiting for the “EQUINE TRIPPING IS NOT A CRIME” bumper stickers.

  10. talentlessquitter on March 26, 2013 - Reply

    *sigh* I love my country.

  11. egbert on March 26, 2013 - Reply

    Thanks a lot Bin Laden.

  12. The problem seems to be that non-skaters, such as the senator, don’t see a big difference between bicycling and skateboarding. In bicycling, when hitting an unforeseen object such as a hidden curb, going over the handlebars TYPICALLY means landing directly on one’s head, because you swing around your hands, which take a while to let go. And yes, on very rare occasion someone will die from a skatepark injury nationwide, and slightly less rarely, from a road injury, but it just plain isn’t as dangerous as bicycling without a helmet, when it comes to head traumas. Might even be closer to school cheerleading, per participant. One law that wouldn’t be too far off base would be outlawing using pads without a helmet in competition, since that (and not even counter-intuitively, just counter-unperceptively) is the most treacherous combination to skate with. (They could call that one the Go Full Barney Bill, to make it sound grave and important.)

  13. One thing to keep in mind, when opposing this bill, is that politics can indeed make strange bedfellows. Though I’m a Democrat and a liberbrarian, I’ll be the first to admit that it was Republicans in the otherwise revolting Gingrich revolution that got most of the liability reform laws passed that wound up allowing the modern skatepark boom. So, no matter how otherwise weird, they are potential allies.

    • (When it come to opposing a nanny state)

      • Though I guess they just want you to have a German nanny instead of an English nanny. Couldn’t we just have a Swedish nanny instead? (Don’t know if that means she’s sexy or commits suicide, though.)

  14. Why not just get to the point and require everyone to wear a helmet all the time, for everything? Safety first people!

    I actually usually wear a helmet too, but I don’t think regulating adults to do so is appropriate. Risk is relative to skill and experience.

  15. warehouse on March 29, 2013 - Reply

    how about this…..you pay for all my medical insurance and i’ll wear a helmet. Otherwise push off.

  16. I'm tough! on March 30, 2013 - Reply

    Fuck a helmet, I’m core!

  17. A work session is schedule for April 9th, show up and support your side.

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