The city of Seattle and King County require that all bicyclists (regardless of age) must wear a helmet; bicyclists can be fined for not wearing a helmet. Helmets are also required well-populated cities throughout Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap County. Avoid fines, fees, and injuries by wearing a bike helmet.
According to the Seattle and King County Department of Health, wearing a bicycle helmet greatly reduces the risk of severe head and brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Head injuries account for more than 60% of bicycle-related deaths and more than two-thirds of bicycle-related hospital admissions. Fortunately, a high percentage of these injuries can be prevented by wearing a bicycle helmet.
Bicycle helmets are designed to protect your brain, and they do a good job when worn and adjusted properly. So, in addition to wearing a helmet, you need to make sure your helmet is the right size, fits comfortably, rests flat on your head (not too far forwards or backwards), rests low on the forehead, and the helmet straps fit around your ear and under your chin snugly.
For more information about proper fit, check out this easy, three-point check guide from Seattle Children’s to make sure your helmet has a proper fit: Seattle Children’s Hospital “Quick-Fit Check” (PDF).
Replace your helmet after a crash, every five years, or sooner for growing children, or of course if the helmet becomes cracked for any reason (such as by dropping).
You can find free and low cost bicycle helmets in the Puget Sound region using the resources listed below.
Kohl’s free bicycle helmets program
Kohl’s offers free bicycle helmets (and helmets for other sports activities, such as skateboarding) for children ages 1 to 18 at events around Washington state. They also teach parents and kids how to check for proper fit, for whenever they might get a new helmet, or a child starts to grow out of the one they have.
Free bicycle helmets and fittings are available March through September at selected locations throughout the state. No appointment is needed. However, children must be present and be fitted to receive a free bicycle helmet, and quantities are limited and first-come first-served. There is a limit of one helmet per child.
To find a free bicycle helmet giveaway in the Greater Seattle area, visit Kohls’ helmet safety page.
2018 Free bicycle helmet events
- Saturday, April 7, 2018. Time: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Location: Federal Way Community Center, 876 S. 333rd St., Federal Way, WA 98003
- Saturday, June 16, 2018. Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Location: Lacey Kohl’s Store, 681 Sleater Kinney Rd. SE, Lacey, WA 98503
- Sunday, July 15, 2018. Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Location: Redmond Kohl’s Store, 17601 NE Union Hill Rd., Redmond, WA 98052
- Saturday, August 11, 2018. Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Location: Covington KidFest, 17002 SE 270th Pl., Covington, WA 98042
- Saturday, September 15, 2018. Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Location: Seattle Children’s North Clinic, Providence Regional Medical Center’s Colby Campus, 1819 13th Ave., Everett, WA 98201
Low Cost Bicycle Helmet Resources in King County, WA
To promote safe bike riding in the Puget Sound region, the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health maintains a list of resources and information about bike safety and helmet laws. For more information, visit: King County bicycle safety and bike helmet page.
They also maintain a list of places where you can buy low cost bicycle helmets. These include community events and organizations throughout the county.
Kohl’s Store, 681 Sleater Kinney Rd. SE, Lacey, WA 98503
Kohl’s Store, 17601 NE Union Hill Rd., Redmond, WA 98052
KidFest, 17002 SE 270th Pl., Covington, WA 98042
Providence Regional Medical Center, 1819 13th Ave., Everett, WA 98201