Thursday, August 25, 2011

For The Record

The other night I spoke at the county commissioner's board meeting about the proposed helmet ordinance they were considering. (Unfortunately, I had to leave afterwards for an emergency at work so I missed hearing the majority of the speakers.) The board had two options to consider along with the ordinance. One was that the ordinance would only apply to ages 16 and under. The other option was to make it "no penalty", that is, there would be no fines. A parent could essentially be cited twice since they could be cited along with their child, and organizers running events could be cited if participants weren't wearing a helmet.

According to the way it was described, the board could could adopt the ordinance as is or adopt one or both of the other options. I spoke in favor of adopting the two options. I brought up the CDC data showing the higher occurrence of injuries and fatalities for age groups 4-9, 10-14, and 15-19 and some other info from the Washington Dept of Health site as well. I spoke against fining event organizers for individuals taking part in the event who weren't wearing a helmet because participants sign a waiver acknowledging the hazards of the activity they're about to participate in. I can't speak for all organized events, but I have yet to attend one that didn't state a helmet was required.

I laughed when I saw the Review article yesterday. (You may have to log in to see it completely.) From my introductory comment you'd think I was some curmudgeon who didn't want the gub'mint tellin' me what do to.

One critic, Hank Greer, said he is a bicycle commuter who recognizes the value of wearing a helmet. He said he uses a helmet for his commutes, but doesn’t think he should have to use one for “puttering around the neighborhood.”

Why couldn't they have quoted the guy who spoke against the ordinance with his "Safety is a philosophy and it doesn't apply to me" speech? Now he was a critic.


Bill Foss said...

I like the idea of not ticketing for infractions. It would be just like the texting/talking while driving law then!

Anonymous said...

I'll wager there be no more substantive action on bicycle safety this year, no matter the outcome of the vote.

The whole point of helmet laws is to forestall other safety measures with higher rates of efficacy.

It's just politics.

Anonymous said...

It will just end up as another un-enforced law like the Helmet Law in California. All it does is teach children that some laws can be ignored and there are no consequences. The police will never take the time to stop a kid unless it is a reason to pull them over to ask about some other crime.