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  1. #1
    JAG's Avatar
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    Exclamation AWA Report about NJ PWC Rider Helmet Legislation

    This is from Chris Manthos, Executive Director of the AWA. If you're in NJ you will probably want to act on this!



    AWA Action Alert-AWA Action Alert-AWA Action Alert

    Dear New Jersey AWA Member,

    We need to inform you of proposed legislation in Trenton which will significantly affect you, and the way you ride your personal watercraft.

    Senate Bill 2233 will mandate that you and any passengers be required to wear helmets while riding. While this bill has yet to be introduced, it most likely will be in the next two weeks, unless you speak up now.

    You know wearing a helmet while riding recreationally is bad for owners. There is simply no evidence such a law would ever outweigh the potential hazards it would create for watercraft owners. Indeed, while helmets are required on closed course professional PWC racing, recreational riding is a completely different situation.

    On water, there are no lane markers and few traffic control devices. Thus, unlike a motorcycle rider, watercraft owners must be constantly observing traffic conditions from a 360 degree perspective.

    A helmet potentially exacerbates the chance of neck or spine injuries should the wearer be thrown from a boat
    in a process called “bucketing.” Furthermore, there is no standard for marine protective headgear. Under S.2233, the Superintendent of the State Police would adopt a list of various rules and helmet specifications to further burden you, the tax payer. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the proposal carries stiff penalties for non-compliance.

    New Jersey owners are required, rightfully so, to wear a personal flotation device while operating, yet this applies to no other boat types. We already practice common sense safety; adding a dubious requirement on PWC owners, which does not apply to all boaters implies personal watercraft owner harassment.

    You can make a difference now. Please contact State Senator Stephen Sweeney, the sponsor of S.2233 and
    let him know you oppose this unsafe and unfair proposal. Ask that he strongly reconsider filing legislation so harmful to New Jersey personal watercraft owners. Senator Sweeney can be reached as follows.

    Phone: 856-251-9801 Email: [email protected]

    It’s critical that you inform his office of your opposition, and ask that he not file S.2233. If he’s really interested in meaningful and proven boating safety practices, he should work to ensure solid boating safety education for all New Jersey boaters.


    Think Free, Live Free, Ride Free

    Chris Manthos
    Executive Director
    American Watercraft Association


  2. #2
    JAG's Avatar
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    I wonder if this passed if it would influence other states to go in that direction as well...

    So I asked Chris if there was anything wrong with writing the senator even though I don't live in NJ. He said it wouldn't hurt and since I live in VA I should tell him that if this legislation is passed I won't be spending any vacation dollars in the Garden State.

  3. #3
    Looking for a job gtxsc03's Avatar
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    Somebody needs to rattle Pale Rider's cage and get him on this.

  4. #4
    Guys-

    This was going to be my first post on this site, but it looks like someone beat me to posting this. If you're from NJ, PLEASE do not sit on your hands thinking others will take care of this! Take the 2 minutes out of your day to write our Senator an email or give him a phone call! Every voice counts! WE need your help!

  5. #5
    JAG's Avatar
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    This is the email I just sent to Senator Sweeney. Communicating your views makes a difference and the more he receives the greater the impact it has on what he decides to do.


    Dear Senator Sweeney,

    I live in Richmond, Virginia, and I am the owner of several personal watercraft. I take numerous trips each year to various areas on the East Coast for the purpose of enjoying the wide varieties of waterways in these areas. My family vacations on the water every year as well. If Senate Bill 2233 is passed I will no longer consider the waters of your fine state as an option.

    Why do I oppose this particular legislation? First, while a helmet reduces the impact of a head blow, it would also create new dangers for recreational riders. These dangers would likely lead to an increase in pwc accidents and injuries. My reasoning is based on the following logic and evidence:

    - Boats and pwcs using the waterways do not have lane markers or traffic signs that regulate where they actually operate. That requires that I constantly maintain a 360 degree awareness of my surroundings. A helmet limits my ability to maintain adequate visual awareness because it reduces my pheripheral vision.

    - I have also heard of a term called "bucketing" that is used to describe what happens when someone is thrown from their watercraft while wearing a helmet. This happens as the lip of the helmet grabs the water as it makes contact with the water. The possible injuries to the neck and spine could be life threatening when this occurs. I would not want to be thrown from my pwc with a helmet on if the helmet grabing the water as I landed served only to produce a sudden and extreme yanking force to my head and neck.

    - I am a safe and law abiding riding, as all should be. I wear proper flotation devices, carry proper fire and signaling equipment, and am constantly aware of my surroundings as I ride. Why would it be necessary to add anything to that particularly since boaters would not be required to wear helmets as well? I view that in itself as a case of pwc user discrimination. I also believe that if current laws were properly and adequately enforced the number of accidents that currently take place would decrease significantly. Safe operation is what is needed, not mandatory helmet useage.

    For these reasons I hope you will reconsider your intention to submit this bill for consideration. I have met several fine pwc owners in recent months who live in your state. I would love to visit NJ to ride with these individuals, but I will not do so if this bill becomes law. Thank you for taking the time to consider my point of view.

    Sincerely,

  6. #6
    Vman's Avatar
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    I called my Senator immediately- I urge all New Jersians to do the same- If you don't no one will and it will pass- and you will be wearing a helmet.

    His "aid" wanted to know how I found out about the legislation and mentioned how many phone calls they had received in the last hour or so .

    I'll call again Monday to inquire if the Senator has re-examined the issue, send a few e-mails their way also.

    Express your opposition- OR ELSE!

  7. #7
    mxl16's Avatar
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    i sent him an email, and will send another one tommorow and another sunday.......and one each day next week. what a fcukin load of siht.

  8. #8
    mxl16's Avatar
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    even if u arent from NJ, PLEASE send this douchbag an email saying you wont be taking any more vacations to the garden state if this bill is passed.

    i just sent out about 15 pms to various nj riders registered here with a link to this thread.
    Last edited by mxl16; 10-06-2006 at 05:57 PM.

  9. #9
    Moderator DrewNJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mxl16 View Post
    even if u arent from NJ, PLEASE send this douchbag an email saying you wont be taking any more vacations to the garden state if this bill is passed.

    i just sent out about 15 pms to various nj riders registered here with a link to this thread.
    Just got your pm.
    I have already called this so called senator and have sent 2 emails. I talked to an "assistant" on the phone. I wanted to know if he had anything better to do than to try to pass bills on things he has no knowledge of, explaining that it's not like riding a motorcycle on designated lanes of traffic and that our heads need to be constantly looking around as there are no lanes of traffic on the water. I also wanted the sentator to know that this makes him responsible DIRECTLY if any accidents were to occur due to wearing a helmet when not needed.

    Funny enough I asked 2 questions which I never received an answer.
    "Has Senator Sweeney taken a NJ boaters safety course?" and "Is senator Sweeney a NJ registered boat owner or PWC owner?"

    There will be more phone calls and emails for sure...
    Doug

  10. #10
    mxl16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewNJ View Post
    Just got your pm.
    I have already called this so called senator and have sent 2 emails. I talked to an "assistant" on the phone. I wanted to know if he had anything better to do than to try to pass bills on things he has no knowledge of, explaining that it's not like riding a motorcycle on designated lanes of traffic and that our heads need to be constantly looking around as there are no lanes of traffic on the water. I also wanted the sentator to know that this makes him responsible DIRECTLY if any accidents were to occur due to wearing a helmet when not needed.

    Funny enough I asked 2 questions which I never received an answer.
    "Has Senator Sweeney taken a NJ boaters safety course?" and "Is senator Sweeney a NJ registered boat owner or PWC owner?"

    There will be more phone calls and emails for sure...
    Doug
    all excellent points!!! thanks Drew, ill be sure to incorporate those questions in my next email.

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