Pediatrician responds to repeal of bike-helmet law

The King County Board of Health this week repealed a longstanding law requiring bicycle riders to wear a helmet. The panel based its decision on data that showed enforcement of the law to be racist and discriminatory.

UW Medicine pediatrician Dr. Beth Ebel, who practices at Harborview Medical Center, worries that the repeal will lead to an increase in head injuries.

“We deserve to have people safe without a brain injury, and we deserve that you as a bicyclist can safely ride your bike without feeling that you are being targeted because of something about you,” she said.

“Many parents ... say to their kids, ‘You need to wear a helmet because it's the law.’ This rollback weakens our ability to make that clear message to families and to riders that this is the critical safety measure, the most important safety measure that could be done to protect you.”

Read Ebel’s 2021 editorial in The Seattle Times on the subject.

Access broadcast-ready video assets with Ebel discussing potential public health effects of the repeal.

UW Medicine