State House approves rafting helmet bill
The Oregon House passed a bill on Thursday, Feb. 21, that requires rafting guides and outfitters to make helmets available for customers who plan on navigating more treacherous whitewater rapids.
Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) District 49, introduced House Bill 2652 after hearing one of his constituents, Sharon Birge, died in a whitewater rafting accident in 2015.
"Having spoken with Sharon's family it is apparent that had helmets been available she would have insisted that the whole family wear them," Gorsek said in a press release from the state representative's office. "They mentioned that Sharon was mindful of safety and insisted her family use seatbelts soon after they were introduced, she was uniquely insistent at a time when most were apathetic about these kinds of safety measures."
After originally introducing the bill in 2017, the concept was refined with input form stakeholders and industry professionals.
The bill must be passed by the state senate before it can be signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown.
"I am proud that we were able to get this passed in the House and look forward to advocating for it in the Oregon Senate," Gorsek said.