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Seattle/King County Bike Helmet Law

My friend Theo recently got a ticket for riding his bike in Seattle without a helmet. Another friend, Christine, recently wondered if she could ride her bike around Greenlake without a helmet. I knew that legally, the answer was no, but I didn’t really know exactly how it was illegal — ie, which level of our government is screwing us over in this case, and how it came to be. So I did some research. It ended up being a lot more difficult than it should have been to figure out,but here’s how it became illegal to ride a bike without a helmet:

Part 1: The King County Board of Health enacts Title 9, regarding Bicycle Helmets. The text of title 9 can be found on the Board of Health’s regulations page.

Part 2: The City of Seattle Council votes 9-0 to extend Title 9 to cover Seattle

So, despite the fact that I’ve been passed by numerous Seattle cops while riding without a helmet, ticketed by a UW cop for “running a stop sign” while not wearing a helmet (and he didn’t even mention the fact), and even told by a Seattle Police Officer that “the helmet law is not enforced in Seattle,” it apparently sometimes is, when it suits the officer’s whim, just like the rest of the laws that can be used to arbitrarily screw over anyone at anytime, if you dare cross the gargantuan police state government.

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