Special mention of unicycles in mandatory helmet proposal

The city of Vancouver Washington has the foresight to think of unicycles when proposing a mandatory helmet law that would cover kids as well as adults. We won’t be able to scoot by this one claiming we’re not defined as a bicycle and therefore not covered by the mandatory helmet law.

Oh, the proposal passed. It goes in effect in 30 days.

Here’s the relevant part that mentions unicycles:

Here’s a link to the council meeting agenda that covered it. The minutes for the meeting should be posted later.

Here’s a KGW TV news article about it:

How much government regulation can you stand? It’s a slippery slope. We have a bike helmet law here in Ontario, but it only applies to kids under 16 or 18. I don’t know if I agree with it or not. I don’t know if the law includes unis. We have free medical care in Canada so I suppose the government has a right to try to keep the cost of providing ‘elective brain surgery’ down, but where does it stop? Sometimes the motive for these motherhood laws is a knee-jerk response to a tragic accident and some politician decrees to “do something about it” and gain some political mileage out of it. (I’m so cynical.) More hospital money and lives would probably be saved if people can be legislated to wear sunscreen while on their bikes or unis, but of course, that can’t be easily policed on the roads, and the politicians can’t point and say…’look what we’ve done.’
There is also a law in the works to outlaw smoking in a car that has kids under 16 in it. I have mixed feelings about that one too. My dad smoked like a chimney around me as a kid. I turned out ok. I don’t smoke.
My 2 cents!

Skateboards!? Thats a tough one to enforce.

They should better regulate really dangerous things like weapons in the US, instead of such silly things like wearing helmets on bicycles or any other non-motorized vehicles.


I don’t see any difference between this and a seatbelt law. I do hope that it’s not abused as a way to target skaters, however, because I really doubt skaters will start wearing helmets.

Also, they should provide vouchers for people who can’t afford helmets and need their bike to get to work if they are going to make this law.

I will say this, when I was a kid growing up in Iowa I wanted their to be a helmet law so I wouldn’t be made fun of for wearing my helmet when riding to elementary school and junior high. After a few days I stopped wearing one.

Also, what I would like to see is a bicycle light law. As someone who sometimes drives I’m sick of almost hitting bikers at night who don’t have lights. I’m very aware of bikes because I commute almost 100 miles a week - but even I almost hit bikers every time I drive at night around here because they won’t light themselves up. A night biker without a light is a severe road hazard.

Lighter fluid, a polyester shirt, and a match would work well as an inexpensive substitute.

The local unicycle lobby was asleep at the switch on this one, I wonder if any of the affected groups were aware this was coming down. There seems to be a group think that if wheels are involved, a hemet must be required safety equipment. Doesn’t matter what the equipment is or level of the risk as long as there are wheels.

A few years back our club was doing a show at the Seattle Center, our MC/Announcer had to be back in the audience because that is where the sound board and microphone were. He had many come up to him asking/chastising the group for not having helmets for regular riding and freestyle skills; we did wear helmets for the Trials segment. Comments like that was something new, before then no one had complained.

I do wear a helmet for Trials, Muni, and any riding where there is a potential interaction with vehicles, but otherwise not. I still say normal riding is about as dangerous as jogging. I think we should lobby for mandatory helmets for joggers, now that would get some peoples’ attention.

I believe that is already the law (at least in Washingon State). Any vehicle, even human powered, are required to have lights if operating on a roadway after dusk.

Edit: Oregon Too:

Wear light colored clothing during the evening and brightly-colored clothing during the day.
At night, lights and reflectors are essential for visibility and both are required by law.
Avoid unlit streets and paths at night.
Remember that although other drivers or pedestrians may be looking directly at you, they still may not see you.

this is rediculous, like outlawing switchblades, people still have guns!

requiring the use of a helmet is the biggest bunch of crap ever, if people want to get hurt, let them

I think you guys are missing the bigger picture.

In the US, no one can be denied treatment in a hospital’s emergency room, regardless of their ability to pay for said treatment.

IMHO, a helmet law should go hand-in-hand with this “liberty”.

If we’re going to hand out free band-aids to people who bump their heads, they should act responsibly when operating vehicles of any manner.

Edit: Consider the corollary… if someone comes into an ER with a head wound, and wasn’t wearing their helmet, would you be satisfied if the ER denied them treatment? What if that “someone” was you?

Yeah, I am pretty sure this is a law in most places. On my unicycle I always have my tail light on the seat post and while commuting at night I have a bright LED helmet light. I see joggers sometimes that aren’t wearing anything reflective either and love to run against traffic in the road. The simple point (law or not) is that if you are in the road you should wear reflective clothing and have a front and back light.

In cities it seems that a lot of bicyclists don’t have tail lights for some reason, and cops have other things to do than stopping every cyclist which is why you can get away with not obeying any traffic laws on a bike in a city.

You’re missing the bigger picture though, which is that operating a vehicle is only one of many situations where head injuries might occur. Should you wear a helmet in all such situations or be denied treatment (falling and slipping in the shower / bath being a major head injury risk), or when driving a car?

I don’t like to get into the helmet debates on either side, but that’s just such a silly argument I couldn’t resist.


Stupid. The U.S. needs more people riding bikes and doing other physically active things, not fewer.

So you retort with even an sillier argument? Why not go the “let’s bubble-wrap ourselves” route?

I’ll humor you for now.

Cars are designed to protect the occupant. Seatbelt laws and airbag regulations are being enacted to ensure people get the full protection a car may offer. Such devices do not exist on motorcycles, bicycles, etc.

Head injuries that occur whilst one is stationary (such as when in the shower) won’t, on average, be as severe as those that occur when one is bombing down a hill on an MTB at 30 MPH with trees and rocks about.

As I see things: in some situations, a simple act or device may do more to reduce risk than in others. That is, wearing a helmet while walking down the sidewalk won’t “buy” you much more protection than putting on a helmet before riding a motorcycle.

Yeah, cool. Have you ever done that? It’s LOADS of fun!

There are some things that everyone should experience at least once before they die… and bouncing around with 6 inches of bubble wrap all over them is one of them :smiley:


How are helmet laws going to stop people?

What about stories of head injuries? Wouldn’t those make people more adverse to activities?

Every study I’ve seen has shown that the enaction of helmet laws correlates strongly with reductions in the restricted activity.

Without relating how many studies you’ve read, their sources nor the number of studies performed in total, what are we to make of your statement?

Every brain surgeon I’ve talked to has told me that helmets protect against deadly cosmic radiation and that everyone should wear helmets at all times.

Hah, take that!