King County votes to repeal law requiring bike helmets

The King County Board of Health voted on Thursday to repeal the county's bike helmet law after data showed it disproportionately impacted communities of color and people experiencing homelessness.

In meetings last year, several board members said that they hoped to end the law - questioning whether it even encourages riders to wear helmets in the first place. The vote was postponed until now.

Board members and people who called in during public comment argued that enforcement is not the way to go. They say the focus should be on educational campaigns.

The law requiring all adults to wear helmets was passed in King County in 1993.

However, the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington said repealing the helmet law would disproportionately harm communities of color. Brain injury experts say research collected alongside doctors at Harborview Medical Center shows that low-income neighborhoods and those near major roads are at the highest risk for death or injury from bike accidents.

Washington-based companies give $10 million to fight homelessness in downtown Seattle

The money will help set up and fund a team from the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority, designed to triage and alleviate homeless camping in downtown and the city’s International District.

The Alliance had been advocating for a county study on the racial and social impacts of the helmet law.

In January 2022, the Seattle Police Department said it would stop actively ticketing for four minor infractions, including bike riders not wearing a helmet.

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