Chapter 8.37


8.37.010    Title.

8.37.020    Purpose and policy declared.

8.37.030    Findings.

8.37.040    Definitions.

8.37.050    Requirements regarding bicycle helmets.

8.37.060    Enforcement.

8.37.010 Title.

This chapter may be cited and referred to as the “Burien bicycle helmet regulations.” [Ord. 393 § 1, 2003]

8.37.020 Purpose and policy declared.

(1) This chapter is enacted as an exercise of the authority of the city council of the city of Burien to protect and preserve the public health and welfare. Its provisions shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes.

(2) It is the express purpose of this chapter to provide for and to promote the health and welfare of the general public and not to create or otherwise establish or designate any particular class or group of persons who will or should be especially protected or benefited by the terms of this chapter.

(3) It is the specific intent of this chapter to place the obligation of complying with its requirements upon any person falling within its scope, and no provision of, nor term used in, this chapter is intended to impose any duty whatsoever upon the city of Burien or any of its officers or employees, for whom the implementation and enforcement of this chapter shall be discretionary and not mandatory.

(4) Nothing contained in this chapter is intended to be, nor shall be construed to create or to form the basis for, a liability on the part of the city of Burien, or its officers, employees or agents, for any injury or damage resulting from the failure of any person to comply with this chapter. [Ord. 393 § 1, 2003]

8.37.030 Findings.

The following findings of fact were adopted by the King County Board of Health in Chapter 9.04 KCC. The city council of the city of Burien hereby adopts the same findings as set forth below.

(1) Head injuries are a major cause of death and disability associated with the operation of a bicycle on public roadways and bike paths. Every year, approximately 1,000 Americans die of bicycle-related injuries. Approximately 75 percent of those deaths are due to head injuries. A significant number of those individuals who survive head injuries do not return to a normal life. They are often left with profound, disabling and long-lasting conditions. From 1989 through 1998, there were 35 bicycle-related deaths and 2,003 bicycle-related hospitalizations in King County, including Seattle.

(2) Bicycle helmets have been shown to prevent head injuries suffered by bicycle riders during a crash or fall. Studies completed in 1989 and 1996 by investigators at Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center show that helmet use could reduce the number of head injuries involving bicycling by between 69 percent and 85 percent. The medical examiner noted that of the eight bicycle-related deaths in 2000, four were not wearing helmets. Moreover, the King County Child Death Review (CDR) found that of the five children who died while riding a bicycle from July 1998 to April 2002, four were not wearing helmets when injured; the CDR experts concluded that three of the children would have likely survived if a helmet had been worn. Finally, using tools developed by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that nearly $10,000,000 would be saved annually in both direct and indirect costs for bicycle-related head injuries in King County if every cyclist would wear a helmet.

(3) Educational and promotional efforts in King County have increased helmet use from two percent in 1985 to 61 percent in 1999 for children ages five through 12. In 1999, bicycle helmet use in adults was observed to be 71 percent. However, these results have reached a plateau. Additional efforts are needed to augment helmet use.

(4) Studies in the United States and elsewhere demonstrate that legislation is effective in increasing helmet use. Helmet laws in Georgia, Maryland, and New York increased helmet use from between 26 percent and 40 percent. In North Carolina, helmet use increased two to three times after legislation. Furthermore, New Zealand found a 30 percent reduction in head injuries after passage of a helmet law. Thus, regulations requiring the use of bicycle helmets enhance the effectiveness of educational efforts to reduce the number and severity of head injuries resulting from bicycle crashes. The city council of the city of Burien therefore finds that bicycle helmets are required for the safe operation of bicycles not powered by motor on public roadways, bicycle paths or any right-of-way or publicly owned facility located in the city of Burien. [Ord. 393 § 1, 2003]

8.37.040 Definitions.

(1) “Bicycle” means every device propelled solely by human power upon which a person or persons may ride, having two tandem wheels, any one of which is more than twenty inches in diameter. For purposes of this chapter, the term bicycle shall include any attached trailers, sidecars, and/or device being towed by a bicycle.

(2) “Guardian” means a parent, legal guardian or temporary guardian who maintains responsibility, whether voluntary or otherwise, for the safety and welfare of a person under the age of 18 years of age. [Ord. 393 § 1, 2003]

8.37.050 Requirements regarding bicycle helmets.

(1) Any person operating or riding a bicycle not powered by motor on a public roadway, bicycle path or any right-of-way or publicly owned facilities located in the city of Burien must wear a protective helmet designed for bicycle safety. Such helmet shall meet or exceed the safety standards adopted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 15 USCS 6004, or Z-90.4 set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Snell Foundation, the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) or such subsequent nationally recognized standard for bicycle helmet performance as the United States might adopt. The helmet must be equipped with either a neck or chinstrap that shall be fastened securely while the bicycle is in motion.

(2) The guardian of a person under the age of 18 years shall not knowingly allow, or fail to take reasonable steps to prevent, that person from operating of riding on a bicycle not powered by motor on a public roadway, bicycle path or on any right-of-way or publicly owned facilities located in the city of Burien unless that person is wearing a helmet that meets the requirements of subsection (1) of this section.

(3) No person shall transport another person upon a bicycle not powered by motor on a public roadway, bicycle path or on any right-of-way or publicly owned facilities located in the city of Burien unless that person is wearing a helmet that meets the requirements of subsection (1) of this section.

(4) No person shall sell or offer for sale a bicycle helmet that does not meet the requirements of subsection (1) of this section.

(5) No person shall rent a bicycle not powered by motor for use to another person unless that other person possesses a helmet that meets the requirements of subsection (1) of this section. [Ord. 393 § 1, 2003]

8.37.060 Enforcement.

(1) A violation of this chapter is designated a civil infraction, to which the provisions of Chapter 7.80 RCW shall apply, except as set forth hereafter.

(2) Any duly commissioned law enforcement officer having law enforcement authority at the place where a violation of this chapter occurs is authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

(3) Any person found to have committed a violation of this chapter shall be assessed a monetary penalty of $42.00 for each such violations, not including the filing fee assessed by the district court in which the city files such notice of infraction.

(4) Whenever a court imposes a monetary penalty under this chapter, it is immediately due. If the person is unable to pay at the time the penalty is imposed, the court may grant an extension of the period in which the penalty may be paid.

(5) The court may waive, reduce or suspend the monetary penalty prescribed herein, and may impose such conditions on any waiver, reduction, or suspension as it deems just. If the court determines that a person has insufficient funds to pay the monetary penalty, the court may order performance of a number of hours of community service in lieu of a monetary penalty at the then state minimum wage per hour.

(6) The first time a person has been issued a notice of infraction for violation of this chapter, if such person appears in person before the court and supplies the court with proof that between the date of the notice of infraction and the appearance date in court that the person purchased a helmet meeting the requirements of BMC 8.37.050(1), the court shall dismiss the notice of infraction without costs. [Ord. 393 § 1, 2003]