Foreign non-residents lax when it comes to safety gear
BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss Safety Council’s latest figures for the use of safety equipment on the country’s ski slopes and off-piste show good use up to age 17, then a dip after age 25 until age 46, when skiers and snowboarders suddenly put on their safety gear again.
The council for the first time compared use of safety equipment by “foreign guests” and Swiss residents, and the foreigners fell far short, with 73 percent wearing helmets, as compared to 88 percent of Swiss residents, all ages and genders mixed.
The use of helmets has increased sharply in the past 10 years thanks in large part to the council’s safety awareness campaign, but wearing them has not been evenly adopted, with the 84 percent Swiss average hiding a big language region difference: 89 percent in German-speaking Switzerland and 71 percent in French-speaking Switzerland.
Biggest increase in helmets seen with 18-25 year-olds
The group that showed the sharpest increase in the use of safety equipment was the 18-25 year-olds, up 12 percent.
Ed. note: no explanation is provided for the difference between 88 percent for Swiss residents and the 84 percent that is the average between French and German regions; presumably Italian region use is lower than German region use.
Skiers have caught up with snowboarders in terms of helmet use, both now averaging 84 percent after 10 years of skiers gradually closing the gap. The 2002-03 season saw only 20 percent of snowboarders wearing helmets and 14 percent of skiers.
The council’s safety check, carried out on the slopes with questionnaires this year in order to include foreign residents, covered 4,521 skiers this year and 1,038 snowboarders, slightly more than the previous year. The safety council works with 20 cableway companies throughout Switzerland to compile the statistics.