Dallas City Council Is Giving "Strong Consideration" to Repealing Bike Helmet Law

stormtrooperhelmetflickr.jpg
Zach Freitag
Ordinance or no, always wear a helmet.
On the Wednesday in May 1996 when the Dallas City Council passed a law requiring bicyclists of all ages to wear a helmet, dozens of helmet-clad kids from Kramer Elementary burst into applause, according to The Dallas Morning News report the next day.

They apparently hadn't heard of bike share.

"This mandatory helmet ordinance is going to prevent us from having a successful bike share program, which is something we need for a lot of reasons," Councilman Philip Kingston said at this morning's meeting of the council's Quality of Life Committee.

City officials weren't thinking much about bike share in 1996. Among the four dissenting votes were Councilwoman Donna Blumer, who objected to the Big Brother nature of a helmet law, and Mayor Ron Kirk, who was hesitant to criminalize kids for not wearing helmets.

See also: Five Things Dallas Needs to Become More Bike-Friendly, According to Cycling Advocates

The measure passed on the strength of safety concerns. Helmets protect cyclists from serious head injuries, a fact stressed during the council's debate by leading public health advocates, like the head of the trauma department at Parkland Hospital.

That fact hasn't changed. The question the council faces now is whether a rarely enforced municipal ordinance is an effective way to promote helmet usage and whether the benefits of repeal outweigh the injuries that might possibly result.

With bike share, Kingston says, the benefits are extensive. It will encourage residents to get outside, allow visitors to easily navigate the urban core and catch Dallas up with peer cities like Fort Worth and San Antonio, which have thriving bike share networks.

Without repeal of the helmet ordinance, the city would probably have to offer bike helmet rentals like they do in Vancouver, the only other North American city with both a bike share program and a helmet ordinance. Such a program would add $750,000 to $1 million to the cost of a bike share pilot in Dallas, Kingston said, and probably wouldn't work. People don't like wearing used bike helmets -- "it's like bowling shoes for your head" -- so the likely outcome is that the ordinance would just be ignored.

Committee members were generally receptive, so long as the helmet mandate remains in place for kids 17 and under. Adam Medrano, Rick Callahan and Lee Kleinman enthusiastically supported repeal. Carolyn Davis and committee chair Dwaine Caraway were more reserved, wanting to re-examine the public health implications of repealing the bike helmet ordinance before they make a decision.

Caraway scheduled another discussion for May 12, with the coda that "there's strong consideration at this point for us to scrap the bicycle helmet ordinance."

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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108 comments
JustAcitizen
JustAcitizen

I think we should just go full bubble. Encase ourselves in an inflated air bubble for maximum safety. Then, before we die of safety at the age of 108, cryogenically freeze everyone before death so no one dies. 

We must think of the children, and safety! At all costs! Seatbelts for toilets!

lebowski300
lebowski300

If i ever got a ticket for not wearing a helmet on my bicycle, I would wreck ruin on the forces giving me that ticket, by any means necessary.

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

Wait, people actually still pretend this law has anything to do with safety?


The only reason it's getting any attention now is because white people. None of which were riding bikes in Dallas in 1996

director76oil
director76oil

It's good to see we now have some council members with brains.  I'm tired of seeing Dallas cops ticketing people @ White Rock Lake.   Totally ridiculous to have people leisuring pedaling 8 mph and being stopped by the police + fined.

zappas.stache
zappas.stache

Wouldn't requiring drivers and passengers of automobiles to wear helmets save way more lives and prevent way more head injuries than a bicycle helmet law? Airbags help but helmets would provide even more protection.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Require helmet eschewers to carry current donor card and living will.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

an old adage about bicyclists w/o helmets:

Those who choose to go out on a bike ride without a helmet concede they don't have anything to protect.

otoh should the government mandate everyone must put a helmet on when they ride? no. it's a person's own decision if they want to risk injury.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The law should apply only to cyclists under the age of 18.  After 18 a person should have at least a modicum of common sense and wear a helmet when cycling.  While we're on the subject, there needs to be enforcement of the ordinance prohibiting cycling on Downtown sidewalks.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Jan 22 2014


Wednesday morning the Dallas City Council passed the rewrite of an ordinance that, until now, merely prohibited protesters from carrying signs within 75 feet of a major freeway. 


After today’s vote, that rule is far more wide-ranging, as it now includes “individuals carrying signs, wearing costumes, or engaging in other activities intended to draw attention to their signs or themselves.”

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

does this mean they'll bring back yard darts???

Subnx
Subnx

Bikes are for Europeans who can't afford cars and live in little boxes in crowded cities.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

While they're at it, repeal the Motorcycle Helmet law and the Seat Belt law.


lebowski300
lebowski300

@mavdog  Your old adage is the dumbest shit ever. You might want to wipe.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@mavdog  "Those who choose to go out on a bike ride without a helmet concede they don't have anything to protect."


Same with those who operate or ride in motor vehicles on highways and roads.


Helmets and 5-point harnesses "save lives" ... they should be mandatory for ALL motor vehicles.



TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@RTGolden1  

Jarts!

Now there's a sport where a guy could really use a helmet.

FauxburbanDallas
FauxburbanDallas

@DonkeyHotay @zappas.stacheSignificant safety features are required in automobiles by law. Further safety-related acts are required of drivers, not the least of which is the use of seat belts. Taken together, these provide a reasonable level of safety for persons operating and traveling in automobiles. The bike helmet law is a minimal safety requirement and it is analogous to the seat belt law, which in Texas now even requires passengers to buckle up or face fines. 5-point harnesses and helmets for automobile drivers would be analogous to requiring cyclists to wear full body kevlar to prevent road rash, goggles, helmets, and employ training wheels for added stability.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@lebowski300

ah, I see, you are one of those who don't need to wear a helmet.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @mavdogRaise the visor on your helmet Sir Knight, that aint a windmill yer tilting at.  He's on your side.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@PlanoDave

Lawn DodgeDarts!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@pak152 ... you Texans whine about not being forced to implement Federal laws you don't like, why can't Dallas refuse to implement and enforce State laws it doesn't like?



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@PlanoDave ... since when has due process or the constitution stopped city council from acting stupidly?


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@pak152 ... it's a voluntary FEE, not a tax.


Don't like the FEE, then bring your own bag, you lazy slacker.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @scottindallas @FauxburbanDallas @DonkeyHotay @zappas.stache  


"Bicycles are more akin to pedestrians from that standpoint"


Well, there's your problem.


Society hasn't decided if bicycles are "pedestrians" or "vehicles".


If they are pedestrians, they should be relegated to PEDESTRIAN lanes / sidewalks, Pedestrian rules and regulations regarding lights and crosswalks, and Pedestrian relative SPEEDS.


OR ...


treat them as Road Vehicles, with all the same rules and regulations -- licensing, registration, insurance -- and laws of any other motorcycle, scooter, car or truck.


Some of the largest conflicts and biggest safety problems come from their DUAL use / existence between those two distinct venues.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@FauxburbanDallas @DonkeyHotay @zappas.stache  


Are you denying that crash helmets and 5-point safety harnesses employed in automobiles would SAVE LIVES ?


If bicycle use on public roadways -- where collisions by CARS are the biggest danger -- needs mandatory government regulation than it's time to require:


1) mandatory licensing for all bicyclists who operate on public roadways


2) mandatory bicycle registration for all bicycles, with visible plates so scofflaw bikers can be identified and held responsible


3) mandatory liability insurance for all bicycles to cover any/all harm and damage they may cause to others.


It's time to FULLY REGULATE bicycles that operate on PUBLIC roadways, same as motorcycles, same as any other vehicle that used the PUBLIC roads.


.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@scottindallas @FauxburbanDallas @DonkeyHotay @zappas.stache  

Depends on what angle you take.

I contend that motortcycles and autos have more in common in that they must both conform to the flow of 'powered' traffic and have to abide by the rules and laws pertaining to such. Bicycles are more akin to pedestrians from that standpoint.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@PlanoDave "We actually played that..."


Obviously  the other player won.




TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@PlanoDave

We actually played that...

Which is one reason why we can't get the damn things anymore.

Another is that some people combined lawn darts and midget-tossing in a perverted version of skeet shooting.

pak152
pak152

@DonkeyHotay so can one safely assume that you aren't from around these parts? must be a carpetbagger troll

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @RTGolden1I've got about 300 of the current "single use" grocery bags ready to be repurposed as 'multi-use' bags!  Besides, I do the bulk of my grocery shopping in Balch Springs, so no bag tax!

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@RTGolden1  I was wondering how they would pull that off.  According to the burro, it requires a preponderance of stupidity.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@markzero @pak152


Of course he's talking about beer, only a drunken imbecile could get so hysterical over having to bring his own bag, pay a pathetic nickel, or not using a bag at all.



markzero
markzero

@pak152 @DonkeyHotay  Wait, why do you need a bag for a 6-pack? Is this some kind of rule against alcohol being visible in public? I assume you mean beer, because requiring soda to be hidden would be even more ridiculous. But both types come with their own carriers already.


Oh, and for people shopping for groceries who forget their bags or just don't want to pay the fee: assuming you arrived in your car and used a cart to get groceries, just tell them to not bag the groceries. It'll be just like going to a warehouse club or Aldi, except with shorter lines and higher prices.

FauxburbanDallas
FauxburbanDallas

@DonkeyHotay @FauxburbanDallasIf you like bag restrictions, you ought to love helmet laws and seat belt laws. When personal liberty interferes with Utopia, Utopia can't wait, right? If people are too stupid to be trusted with plastic bags, how can they be trusted to protect themselves from serious injury in the absence of regulation?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@pak152  ... as you can CHOOSE to bring your own bag, or pay the non-compliance FEE for using one from the store.


hth.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@pak152 "and if I don't have a bag on me when I decide to stop off to pick up a 6 pack on the way home then i'm forced to pay the tax."


Too stupid to plan ahead, then plan to fail, 


.. and pay the FEE for one pathetic plastic bag, then leave that bag in the car the next time your lazy fat ass wants a six-pack.




PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@DonkeyHotay  No, it is a fee for non-compliance.  But I can choose to not wear a helmet it I like.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@pak152 "but what if you don't have your bag with you when your spouse calls and says honey you could you pick up somethings on your way home? then you have to pay the tax

nothing voluntary about it."

If you're so pussy-whipped that you slavishly jump whenever the pants-wearing Woman who runs your household commands, then yes, you'll have to pay the FEE for being too stupid and lazy to carry reusable bags in your car.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@PlanoDave " It simply fines somebody who does not wear one."


So it's a TAX then, eh?



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@FauxburbanDallas ... the end of civilized society!


When Free Bags are Outlawed, only Outlaws will have Free Bags!


ps -- it's still not a tax, no matter how many times you whine about it.


FauxburbanDallas
FauxburbanDallas

@DonkeyHotay @PlanoDaveHe's much sharper than you, actually. The liberty interest being trodden upon by the bag tax is that of the retailer/grocer, who can no longer provide his customer with complimentary bags.

pak152
pak152

@DonkeyHotay and if I don't have a bag on me when I decide to stop off to pick up a 6 pack on the way home then i'm forced to pay the tax. 

pak152
pak152

@DonkeyHotay @PlanoDavebut what if you don't have your bag with you when your spouse calls and says honey you could you pick up somethings on your way home? then you have to pay the tax
nothing voluntary about it.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@DonkeyHotay  No it doesn't.  It simply fines somebody who does not wear one.  The police don't carry around helmets that they forcefully strap to your head.

Here's an idea.  Try thinking before opening your pie hole.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@PlanoDave ... you ain't the sharpest tool in the shed, are you boy?


No one is forcing you to PURCHASE a plastic grocery bag, you can bring your own.


The helmet law is FORCING people to wear a helmet.


PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@DonkeyHotay The same could be said about the helmet ordinance...

Don't wanna wear a helmet, just pay the fee...

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