Bicycle Helmet Regulations
As of August 17, 2003 the King County Helmet Regulation mandates:
- Helmet use by persons of all ages in all parts of the County, including the City of Seattle.
- Helmets meet current U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or Snell safety standards.
- Helmets be fastened while riding.
- An infraction carries a $30 penalty. Courts have the discretion to waive the ticket for a first-time violator who can show proof of purchase of a helmet.
Bicycle Helmet Effectiveness regarding head injuries account for:
- 60% of bicycle-related deaths
- Two-thirds of bicycle related hospitalizations
- One-third of bicycle related hospital ER visits (-NSKC, 2004)
- Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85% and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88%:(-NEJM, 1989)
- Wear a bicycle helmet every time you ride.
- Make sure your bicycle helmet has a "CPSC" or "Snell" sticker inside. This is your guarantee that it has met the most rigorous safety standards.
- Purchase a new helmet after a crash, or after 5 years of use.
- Learn the rules of the road and obey all traffic laws.
Bicycle Safety for children
- King County medical and health experts concluded that, between 1998-2002, 3 out of the 5 young people who die from bike-related injuries would have survived if they were wearing helmets. (-King County Medical Examiners Office)
- Approximately 75% of all bicycle-related injuries occur among children ages 14 and under. (-NSKC, 2004)
- Make sure your kids wear a helmet every time they ride.
- Teach your children about the rules of the road and traffic laws.
- Children under the age of 10 need adult supervision while riding.
- Purchase a new helmet for your child after a crash, after 5 years of use, and when your child outgrows it.
- Make sure the helmet fits correctly. One study found that children whose helmets fit poorly are at twice the risk of a head injury in a crash compared with children whose helmet fit is excellent. (- HIPRC, 1999)
Other Bike Safety Resources
- Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
- Cascade Bicycle Club
- Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center
- National Safe Kids Campaign