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
Seattle Children’s works in partnership with Kohl’s to get more kids and teens into properly fit helmets through the Kohl’s Helmet Safety 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. 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.
2019 Free bicycle helmet events
Free bicycle helmet events are held throughout the Puget Sound region from spring to fall. At these helmet events, they teach parents and kids how to check for proper fit, whenever they get a new helmet, or a child starts to grow out of the one they have.
As soon as events are announced for 2019, we’ll list them below. Or, check the Kohls’ helmet safety page.
Read on for more low cost resources for bicycle helmets.
Remember that it’s a good idea to replace a helmet every five years (sooner for growing children) or certainly after a crash, or if the helmet is otherwise dropped or cracked.
Low Cost Bicycle Helmet Resources
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. They also maintain a list of places where you can buy low cost bicycle helmets. These include community events and organizations throughout the county. Here’s where to get these resources:
- Information about bike safety and helmet laws: King County bicycle safety and bike helmet page.
- List of places where you can buy low cost bicycle helmets: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/violence-injury-prevention/traffic-safety/~/media/depts/health/violence-injury-prevention/documents/low-cost-bike-helmet-providers.ashx.
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