The Helmet Law Working Group wants to hear your perspective on the bicycle helmet law and its enforcement.
Around the country, Black, Latino, and Indigenous people are disproportionately stopped by police for minor infractions while biking.
The Helmet Law Working Group was convened this past summer by Central Seattle Greenways, a grassroots safe streets advocacy group, in collaboration with Cascade Bicycle Club, Real Change, and individuals from other transportation and equity-focused groups. Our goal is to minimize unnecessary contact between police and people who bike.
The purpose of this survey is to gather stories and ideas from community members.
In February 2021, the King County Board of Health voted unanimously to review the bicycle helmet law. We want your perspective to inform that review process and shape the future of the helmet law.
What is your name?
This is optional. Anonymous submissions are welcome.
Are you affiliated with a community-based, neighborhood, transportation, environmental, policing-focused, and/or other organization(s)?
We would love to know your relevant affiliations.
Take a second to learn about our research findings:
Through public records requests, this Working Group discovered that Seattle police have invoked King County's bicycle helmet law to stop and ticket Black cyclists at about four times the rate of white cyclists since 2003. Recent investigative reporting by Crosscut found that over 43% of helmet citations since 2017 were issued by Seattle police to homeless people.
We acknowledge that helmets can reduce head injuries in some crashes. However, the academic literature suggests that mandating helmet use can have negative consequences, such as reduced ridership, which may result in a net negative impact on public health. Studies indicate that safer street infrastructure and lower vehicle speeds are more effective at preventing cyclist injuries than helmet laws.
With these considerations in mind, we have asked the Board of Health to conduct a thoughtful review of the helmet law, focusing on its unintended impacts and effectiveness in keeping cyclists safe.
You can read about our findings and advocacy in:
- The Seattle Times:
- South Seattle Emerald:
This document presents a summary of what we’ve learned:
You can find our full research report on racial disparities here:
We found that Seattle police issue helmet citations to Black cyclists at about four times the rate of white cyclists. This graphic summarizes our findings:
What are your thoughts about policing of cyclists in King County, particularly related to the helmet law?
We are interested in your perspectives on repealing or modifying the helmet law, alternatives to mandating helmet use, criminalization and/or enforcement of other bicycle infractions, etc.
Would you like to share experiences or stories about interactions with police that you or others have had while biking in Seattle or elsewhere in King County?
Useful information may include: your race/ethnicity, how you feel you would present to a police officer (as white/as not white), your gender, and your pronouns.
Can this Working Group share your thoughts, story, or experiences with the public, along with your demographic information?
This may take the form of quotes from your responses or summaries of the details that you provide.
Yes, you may share my contributions, and you can attribute them to my name.
Yes, you may share my contributions, but keep it anonymous.
No, please keep this information confidential.
Here is how you can help:
𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺:
We would appreciate if you could share this Google Form with others in your organization or circle. Feel free to forward the email that you received, or send this link:
𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗰𝗵:
If you would like to share more thoughts or schedule an individual chat with a Working Group member, you can let us know below or send us a message at
𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁:
This Working Group has been meeting regularly to discuss the future of the King County helmet law. Our next meeting will likely be in early March. We would love for you to join us in our advocacy! Let us know below if you would like to attend, and we will send you the meeting information and Zoom link.
How can you help?
I will share this form with others in my organization or my circle.
I would like to chat with a Working Group member.
I would like to get involved in this effort. Please send me the information for the next Working Group meeting in March.
Would you like us to keep you updated?
Yes, but I would like to be notified ONLY when the Working Group has a final recommendation that I can sign/endorse.
Yes, I would like to subscribe to the Working Group's email list.
How can we reach you?
You can provide an email address and/or phone number.
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