No, Katie, it's not about cars, it's about pavement. Especially curbs.


Good reasoning. I concur.


"Instead, he says, “Focusing on distracted drivers will lower injury and death rates far more [than ticketing cyclists]"

Why can't they do both?


Peeps could donate helmuts and cops could pass them about. Just clip a few extras on with all the cuffs and tasers and shit when you go out -- you'll never notice the extra weight and you won't hafta file a report (more donuts time) !!!


Whether or not helmet laws are enforced, anyone who does not wear a helmet is an idiot. Even people wearing helmets involved in accidents can die (or suffer a major head/brain injury). I've seen both - someone whose life was saved by the helmet he was wearing and someone who died despite wearing a helmet.

The New England Journal of Medicine: Riders with helmets had an 85 percent reduction in their risk of head injury and an 88 percent reduction in their risk of brain injury . We conclude that bicycle safety helmets are highly effective in preventing head injury.


I can see the campaign -- This is your brain, this is yor brain on drugs [happy!] and this is your brain, on the sidewalk -- kinda like they did with the eggs and the pot? Only this time, make it Real.
Well not literally.


I think the best argument against bike helmet laws is that there's a certain amount of research that suggests your chances of sustaining a serious head injury aren't particularly higher as a cyclist than as a pedestrian. In a car-bike collision the car is providing so much of the F=ma that the bike's speed is basically negligible. It would undoubtedly save lives if we made pedestrians wear helmets, but we're not going to do that so why do it for bikes? Particularly in light of all the social, heath, etc benefits of cycling. Sure the cyclists are sharing the road with cars, but most crashes happen at intersections where pedestrians are equally vulnerable.


Maybe they should start with enforcing traffic laws before they attack the bikers.


What the hell is the stranger drinking magic koolaid mixed with something hard enough to think up this stupid...

Like #1 said it's about the pavement

Really anyone who rides a Bicycle knows you should wear a helmet. Remember the first time you fell down as a kid and skinned your knee? you were lucky what if you went head first.

Maybe we should legalize Magic Mushrooms so the Stranger writers can sit in a daze and remember all the things they want to write about but forget later (we hope!)


Enforcement is worth their annoyance.


If bicyclists don't want to wear helmets, fine. But then the law should be that if you sustain a head injury in a crash, regardless of whose fault it is (even the car) then you don't get any compensation for the head injury and the driver can't be cited for injuries related to their head. It's everyone's personal responsibility to mitigate damage(s).


Heck,just don't enforce any laws when it comes to bicyclists. Like they do (or don't) now.


The rest of the world exists, and provides interesting lessons (if you actually care to learn them). Look at places with low rates of bicyclist injury, what do they have in common... not strict helmet laws... better cyclist infrastructure!

As an aside, we also have laws mandating signaling BEFORE lane changes and turns. I rarely if ever see a BMW follow this law. Not signaling a right turn makes it more likely a pedestrian or cyclist will be killed, but you never see someone get ticketed for this.

Also, for all those talking about pavement. Cyclists, like pedestrians, rarely hit their a head if they are not hit by a car. The speeds most bicyclists travel allow them to keep their head upright if they lose traction or slide out. Even going over the bars most bicyclists have plenty of time to break their fall with their hands, unless... and this is the important part... they are hit by a much larger faster moving object.


@14: Well, regardless, let's just suppose if a BMW were to somehow inadvertently nip a biker, it would still be prudent if the biker was wearing a helmet.

Also Seattle has world class bike infrastructure.


@raindrop: I agree but no matter how much we cater to their demands, it will never be enough.


To everybody shitting on cyclists: I fucking dare you to use a bike as your only mode of transportation for a week. Just one week. Then you'll be able to smell your own bullshit.


Is this column the Strange’s entry for all time stupid editorial? It’s bad enough they got all the socialists elected (or close). Now they want to fill hospital emergency rooms with people riding around the ridiculously dangerous red electric bikes without helmets. As for Seattle’s world class infrastructure, don’t think so, especially with all the road and lane closures due to construction. Roosevelt bike lane just one example of a poorly planned, dangerous bike infrastructure.


Bicyclists have been breaking all the traffic laws for so long that they now feel they are no longer required to obey the laws of physics!


Ya, they did the same (passed a law criminalizing not wearing a helmet) in Florida 20 years ago. They sold it as "protecting the children," then the police used it as an pretense to stop poor minority kids on bikes, escalate the stop into resisting arrest and charge the kids with felony for "resisting."

You know, for police, prosecutors and apparently the Seattle Times every new felony is a win, especially when you can get them into the system young.

I'm sure the fact that Washington prosecutors do stuff like use sex offender laws ostensibly passed to "protect the children" that are now used against the very children the claimed these laws would protect is NO indication of how this law will be applied by police and prosecutors. I'm sure THIS TIME will be different.

This is what I have always loved about the STEB. No matter how much evidence we amass that mass criminalization has failed to improve society on every level and has been shown repeatedly to be aimed primarily at the poor minorities that couldn't get a job at the Times, they keep rooting for yet more laws in the belief that no behavior it ever too nuanced to not require a police response as not just the best, but the only solution.

Here's my primary complaint with STEB's "a thug with a gun can fix every problem provided it's never our behavior that is criminalized" take on things.

"As the STEB notes, Seattle does have a mandatory helmet law; they just don’t enforce it very often."

The STEB should at least acknowledge by this point that there are already enough laws on the books to declare every citizen in Washington State a criminal a few times over, so no need to pass more laws. We are all on the list, so they should just argue that the people they don't approve of should be bumped up a few spots.


@22- The Seattle police are not enforcing traffic laws for drivers as it is. And if you think most drivers are stopping at stop signs, you are dreaming.


If helmet laws actually worked at reducing head injuries, then places with mandatory helmet laws should have fewer cyclists dying from head injury. Except they don't. Australia has one of the most draconian helmet laws in the world, and the difference between head injuries between Oz and the rest of the world is so small that it gets swallowed by statistical noise, and some years they actually have more deaths per capita from head injury than the rest of the world. There have been dozens of studies that have failed to detect a positive correlation between helmet laws and death rates. There was an Australian study that showed a reduction in head injury after their helmet law went into effect, but the raw data also showed a sharp decline in arm and leg injuries almost as large as the reduction in head injury which BTW included every kind and form of head injury including skin abrasions. This was not because helmets are good at preventing arm and leg injuries, but that the helmet laws caused a drastic reduction in cycling rates. And numerous studies have show even in countries with infrastructure as bad as here in the US, the health benefits from cycling outweigh the risks from dying in traffic from 2-3 ton death machines piloted (sort of) by highly distracted drivers.

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