Originally Posted by codprawn
So why not ban all dangerous sports? You could ban rock climbing - you could ban mountain biking - you could ban water skiing - after all nobody HAS to do these things do they? And when things go wrong it costs the taxpayer a fortune!!!
Because you are looking at it from too narrow a perspective. All those sports contribute to the UK ecconomy (as does beer consumption which may be part of the reason its not been banned!) and so there is a benefit at local and national levels from these sports. Many areas already have restrictions on water skiing to contain it in safe areas (or more importantly out of dangerous ones). There are rules on bicycle use on the roads.
I'm not sure I would describe either water skiing or mountain biking as particularly dangerous sports (i'm not suggesting accidents don't happen - just that I don't think you picked great examples). The majority of people wear helmets when cycling on the roads so have self regulated much better than the boating community with life jackets. I think by and large serious mountain bikers always wear helmets where they believe there is risk.
Your rock climbing analogy is much better I think anyone who participates in outdoor rock climbing (including myself) and especially those who lead climbs would recognise that it is dangerous. Whilst people do get hurt and killed doing it I think that most mountain rescues will not be to experienced well equipped climbers - but rather to ill equipped walkers (the boating analogy may be not having/using life jackets). Interestingly there is a bit of a similar debate in the climbing community about helmets with the "why should I wear a helmet if I don't want to arguments" although there is no threat of legislation yet.
I don't climb (outdoors) with people who refuse to wear helmets and I won't sail with someone who would refuse to wear a life jacket on my boat.
I think the reasons for not bringing in legislation on life jackets are - when is it not necessary? Is there some size of boat where it is considered OK to work on the deck without a lifejacket?