Snowmobile safety bill gets another try |

Snowmobile safety bill gets another try

Jeff Munson

A California Assemblyman is determined to see the governor sign a bill that would require snowmobile guides to be CPR-certified and carry first aid and survival equipment.

Assembly pro-tem speaker Leland Yee, D- San Francisco, reintroduced a bill Tuesday that is similar to legislation last year that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to sign. The proposal had bipartisan support and industry backing.

AB1209 was spawned after a 21-year-old Bay Area woman, Shaylin Lepper, was killed when the snowmobile she was riding near Strawberry in El Dorado County plunged down an embankment, leaving her tour guides stranded without any safety equipment or CPR training. The crash took place on Jan. 4, 2003.

“The tragic loss of Shaylin Lepper has motivated me to continue this effort until it becomes law,” Yee said on Wednesday. “AB1209 is common-sense legislation that is even supported by the snowmobile industry. It is imperative that the governor sign this bill into law in 2005 in order to prevent further injuries and deaths.”

In August 2004 Schwarzenegger said he wouldn’t sign Yee’s bill, saying he wanted statewide support through the state’s parks and recreation department so guides could have training.

“If a training course is to be mandated, it is important that there is statewide consistency provided through a program developed with safety experts and state agencies responsible for recreation and transportation,” Schwarzenegger said in an Aug. 30 statement to the Assembly.

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No such program has been adopted either through the state or counties. Yee believes too much time has gone by without action and that is why he reintroduced the bill.

“If it isn’t going to happen, the only way we feel we can do this is to legislate it and make it part of the law to solve the problems brought to our attention last year with the death of one of our constituents,” said Adam Keigwin, Yee’s press secretary.

“Clearly most Californians we’ve talked to agree that this is a common-sense measure. The legislators agreed it was a common-sense measure and the legislation had industry support. Hopefully the governor will have a change of heart on this issue, especially in light of the fact the Department of Parks and Recreation didn’t implement such a program.”