Tacoma City Council should rethink repeal of bike helmet law

Mandating people to behave responsibly isn’t the ideal way to make them safer. What a wonderful world this would be if all adults protected themselves and their families based purely on free will, compassion and common sense — not fear of breaking the law.

Alas, such a world is fantasy, at least in our solar system. That’s why government leaders long ago enacted seatbelt, child car seat and motorcycle helmet laws. It’s why Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a statewide face covering mandate last month as Washington’s COVID-19 outbreak spiked.

It’s also why both the Pierce County Council and Tacoma City Council adopted bicycle helmet ordinances in 1994, around the time many other municipal governments did the same.

The intent wasn’t punitive; both local laws allowed fines to be waived if any ticketed rider later obtains a helmet. The purpose was to change behaviors, curtail preventable head injuries and keep kids

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