Gov. Crist signing horse helmet law

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

LOXAHATCHEE, FL (WFLX) - June 4, 2006, 12-year-old Nicole Hornstein, of Loxahatchee, fell off her horse hitting her head on the pavement. She stayed in a coma for 20 days before dying from a head injury June 24, 2006.

Monday, Governor Charlie Crist will come to Palm Beach County to sign a new horse helmet law titled "Nicole's Law" that the family says will save the lives of other children.

The horse Nicole was riding became spooked by a car causing her to fall off and hit her head on the pavement. She wasn't wearing a helmet.

The new law will require all children under the age of 16 to wear a helmet while riding a horse during lessons and on public roads. It excludes rodeos and private homes.

Even though Nicole's family thought up the law named after her, they tell us it was really a group effort to get it passed -- neighbors, county leaders and state legislators all working to push it through quickly. They say it was just common sense.

Senator Dave Aronberg, who sponsored the bill, says there's already a law on the books that says if you're a child and riding a bicycle, you have to wear a helmet, but not if you're riding a horse, and horses arguably are more dangerous than bicycles.

Now those who love her say to see Nicole's Law finally being signed and made official has given them goose bumps, knowing it'll save other children.

Gary Hornstein, her father, says it's a tribute to Nicole and that she earned that right. He calls her his hero saying no kid should go through what he saw her go through.

Once Nicole's Law is signed, the parents of any child caught not wearing a helmet while on a horse will be charged a $500 fine.