On July 7, 2020 Tacoma City C0uncil voted to get rid of the helmet law and updated other mobility code to be more equitable and reflect current best practices. The code updates allow scooters to use bike lanes and decriminalize biking on the sidewalk in business corridors where it might be unsafe to bike on the road. The new laws outlined in Ordinance 28678 go into effect July 20, 2020.
A key component of the updates is a repeal of the helmet law, which disproptionanately impacted people of color and has not proven to collectively increase safety for communities. If fact, the more people on bikes, the safer we all are, and helmet laws decrease the number of people on bikes.
- Research shows that communities fare better when governments do not impose helmet laws. Coupled with work to reduce speed laws and increase the amount of safe infrastructure for multi-modal transportation, the elimination of the helmet law provides opportunities for all people to move safely around the city on all modes without fear of enforcement while removing a barrier to getting new people to try walking, biking, and micromobility options.
- The more people who use options, the safer all users are. A 2003 study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, found that “the likelihood that a given person walking or bicycling will be struck by a motorist varies inversely with the amount of walking or bicycling.” More people walking means less people are hit by cars.
We’re so glad it’s not a crime to ride a bike without a helmet AND we still encourage everyone to wear a helmet for safety. We sell inexpensive helmets in our shop and are continuing work to create more community helmet giveaways with our partners at the Puyallup Watershed Initiative.