The King County Board of Health repealed a law Thursday that required cyclists to wear helmets due to “equity” as well as “racist and discriminatory” enforcement.
The BOH claimed in a statement that “…data presented to the Board of Health has shown racist and discriminatory enforcement. Seattle Police Department data collected and analyzed by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and the Helmet Law Working Group shows that police disproportionately gave helmet law citations to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color cyclists.”
“Their analysis found that Black riders were nearly four times as likely to be cited by police for not wearing a helmet while biking compared to White riders.”
However, many residents were quick to point out that this was likely designed to protect the “homeless” who are normally seen on the streets riding stolen bike shares cycles. Parts of the cycles as well as cycles stolen from neighbors are commonly found in homeless encampments around the city, many containing chop shops for bicycle parts.
Indeed, the statement itself seemed to support this theory. “Further, in Seattle, nearly half of the citations issued for biking without a helmet were given to people living homeless.”