Personally, I don’t agree with legally requiring people to wear bike helmets. I do strongly recommend that people wear one. I certainly do and was very thankful to have been wearing one when I went over my handlebars and broke my clavicle. My helmet sure had a nasty scuff that could have been on my head. But to pass or repeal a law based of this “logic” instead of the merits is nuts.
In a county that has made racial justice reform a priority — the King County health board declared racism a public health crisis in 2020 — the regulation pitted the need to address racial equity against the obvious safety benefits of helmets.
“We have to have a broad view of public health: Yes, we have to think about brain injury, and we also have to think about the impact on our criminal legal system,” Zahilay said.
The health board, made up of elected officials and appointed medical experts from across the county, began to scrutinize the helmet rule in 2020 after an analysis of court records from Crosscut, a local news site, showed that it was rarely enforced, and enforced disproportionately when it was. Since 2017, Seattle police had given 117 helmet citations, more than 40% of which went to people who were homeless. Since 2019, 60% of citations went to people who were homeless.
A separate analysis from Central Seattle Greenways, a safe streets advocacy group, found that Black cyclists were almost four times as likely to receive a citation for violating the helmet requirement as white cyclists. Native American cyclists were just more than twice as likely to receive one as white cyclists.
Neither study looked at whether homeless people or people of color wore helmets less frequently than other groups — or whether, out of economic necessity, they were more likely to ride a bike. Critics nonetheless said enforcement appeared to be discriminatory.
Emphasis mine. They can’t even prove that it’s discriminatory. It just appears to be discriminatory to their addled minds. And for that, people will die.