Bicycle safety and bike helmets
Bicycling is a marvelous way to get around. Bicycling reduces traffic jams, protects the environment, and is a great source of physical activity. Unfortunately, bicycling is not risk-free. In fact, each year an average of 3 bicyclists die in King County and 48 are severely injured.
...Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Traffic Safety Priorities in WA State for Local Jurisdictions, September 2011
To stay safe, follow Washington's bicycling laws and always wear a helmet! Visit the Washington state Department of Transportation's Bicycle Laws page to learn more about bicyclist responsibilities and state laws. For safety tips, check out the King County Department of Transportation's bicycle safety page.
Wear a helmet! It's the law!
In July 2003, the King County Board of Health extended the King County bike helmet regulation to include Seattle. The new rule went into effect in August 2003 and requires that all bicyclists (regardless of age) must wear a helmet.
Bicyclists throughout the county can be cited for not wearing helmets. Avoid fines, fees, and injuries by wearing a bike helmet!
How to fit a helmet
Bike helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by as much as 85% and brain injuries by as much as 88%.
...National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Bicycle helmets prevent injuries, May 2011
In order for the bike helmet to protect you, it needs to fit properly. Watch the Ask KOMO: Bike Helmet Safety video for fitting tips and follow these easy tips to wearing a helmet correctly:
- Make sure your helmet is the right size. Try on several helmets before buying one. The helmet should fit comfortably. If needed, use extra pads for a snug and secure fit.
- Make sure the straps fit around your ear and under your chin snugly. The straps should form a "V" under your ears. Leave enough room for one finger to fit between your chin and the strap.
- The helmet should rest flat on your head, not too far forwards or backwards. The helmet should rest low on the forehead, no more than two finger widths above the eyebrows.
- Look for the CPSC or SNELL certification sticker inside the helmet.
- Get a new helmet when you grow out of it or within 5 years, whichever comes first.
- Replace your helmet after a crash or if it is cracked.