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