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Helmet Safety Program: Bicycles

Legislation

Sitka Bicycle Helmet Legislation

ORDINANCE NO. 2005- 11

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY AND BOROUGH OF SITKA, ALASKA AMENDING TITLE 11, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, OF THE SITKA GENERAL CODE BY ADDING A NEW CHAPTER 11.70, HELMET REQUIREMENT FOR YOUNG PERSONS RIDING CERTAIN VEHICLES

1.         CLASSIFICATION.  This ordinance is of a permanent nature and is intended to become a part of the Sitka General Code.

2.         SEVERABILITY.  If any provision of this ordinance or any application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance and application thereof to any person or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

3.         PURPOSE.  Studies have shown that if young people wear proper helmets while bicycling, skating, or skateboarding, it makes them safer.  These studies show that youth wearing certified protective helmets that are properly sized and properly worn have prevented or limited serious head injuries and death while bicycling, skating, skateboarding, and riding similar vehicles.  In 2000, the Alaska Trauma Registry shows that 68 Alaskan youth were hospitalized due to bicycle injury; 14 of them were from Southeast Alaska.  Each head injury costs the community approximately $218,000, according to National SAFEKIDS, which also has estimated that every dollar spent on a helmet that is worn saves the community $30 in direct medical expenses.  Despite the overwhelming evidence of the need to wear certified protective helmets, many children do not wear them while bicycling, skating, skateboarding, and riding similar vehicles.  Requiring minors to wear and properly fasten a certified protective helmet of appropriate fit is needed to foster greater and continued use of certified protective helmets.  The ordinance provides that the fine can be forgiven upon acquisition of a properly fitted certified protective helmet, or for first-time violators who are not properly wearing a certified protective helmet, because this will serve as an incentive to get youths and their parents to comply with the helmet requirements set out in this ordinance.  The Assembly intends with the passage of this ordinance that the proceeds of the fines received under this ordinance be used to support the purchase and the distribution of additional helmets.