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May 2022 - Episode 4

Helmet Laws

Until February of 2022, Seattle was the largest city in the country where it was illegal for anyone – kids, adults or senior citizens – to ride a bike without a helmet. 

There’s no question that helmets save lives. But some people just aren’t going to wear them, whether or not it’s illegal. Helmet laws are similar to sidewalk riding laws. They’re intended to keep people safe, but they also give police officers an excuse to stop cyclists. 

So how and why did Seattle decide to repeal their helmet law?

Helmet laws are just one way that Black Americans, unhoused cyclists and other marginalized communities have had their mobility arrested. Today we’re exploring how enforcement of helmet laws can give way to racial and economic injustice.

man biking
Photo by Nazar Strutynsky on Unsplash