There are a handful of larger cities in the United States whose political leaders, while trying to resolve issues, instead, make things worse, but are never held accountable by the voters.
Seattle, Washington is a prime example.
In January, the Seattle Police Department, due to racism and equity concerns, announced that it would no longer enforce certain non-criminal traffic violations. They also de-prioritized expired vehicle registrations and bicycle helmet violations.
Now, King County, home to Seattle, is following suit by removing the helmet requirement for all county bicyclists.
Despite acknowledging that bike helmets “provide a 63-88% reduction in the risk of head and brain injuries for people who ride bikes,” the King County Board of Health voted, 11 to 2, to repeal the helmet mandate, originally passed in 1993, because of accusations that the law was disproportionately enforced against people of color and homeless people.
“Helmets save lives, full stop. But the disproportional enforcement of the requirement gives us concern,” said King County Councilmember Joe McDermot. “When the Board of Health first adopted a helmet mandate, helmets weren’t part of our social norms and our culture, and so the legal requirements for helmets was new and carried weight. But I think societal norms and expectations have changed significantly in the 30 years since.”
“Seattle Police Department data collected and analyzed by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and the Helmet Law Working Group shows that police disproportionately gave helmet law citations to black, indigenous, and people of color cyclists,” states the press release from the Public Health Insider for Seattle and King County.
“Their analysis found that black riders were nearly four times as likely to be cited by police for not wearing a helmet while biking compared to white riders,” the analysis reads. “Further, in Seattle, nearly half of the citations issued for biking without a helmet were given to people living homeless.”
“The recent action from the Board of Health removes a policy that has resulted in racist enforcement while re-emphasizing the importance of wearing a bike helmet coupled with County resources to make bike safety more accessible for all,” said Dennis Worsham – interim director for Public Health in Seattle and King County.
Worsham noted that the repeal was in line with the Board of Health’s 2020 Racism is a Public Health Crisis resolution that vowed to make the health agency a “vital player in dismantling oppressive systems that are grounded in white supremacy.”
The board said it would change its focus to other methods that don’t rely on law enforcement, such as educational campaigns and free helmet distribution.
“The Metropolitan King County Council recently budgeted more than $200,000 to buy helmets and expand education,” The Oregonian reported.
So the county, in spite of the fact that helmets work, but because black riders refuse to wear them, decriminalized the act.
Just like in LA, Minneapolis, and New York City, weakening or abolishing laws to help criminals who refuse to play by the same rules as everyone else, only increases crime, further leading to the moral erosion of their communities
Oh well, there is nothing new under the sun, but liberals are going to roll the dice anyway.
Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
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