Safety Frequently Asked Questions

Is it an actual law to wear bike helmets at any age? And if it is not, can the school require that students riding their bikes to school wear a helmet?

All counties do not have a law regarding bike helmets but King County does.

9.10 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS REGARDING BICYCLE HELMETS
Sections: 9.10.010 Requirements regarding bicycle helmets.

A. Any person operating or riding on a bicycle not powered by motor on a public roadway, bicycle path or on any right-of-way or publicly owned facilities located in King County including Seattle, shall wear a protective helmet designed for bicycle safety. Such helmet shall meet or exceed the safety standards adopted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 15 USCS 6004, or Z-90.4 set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Snell Foundation, the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), or such subsequent nationally recognized standard for bicycle helmet performance as the county may adopt. The helmet must be equipped with either a neck or chinstrap that shall be fastened securely while the bicycle is in motion.

B. The guardian of a person under the age of eighteen (18) years shall not knowingly allow, or fail to take reasonable steps to prevent, that person from operating or riding on a bicycle not powered by motor on a public roadway, bicycle path or on any right-of-way or publicly owned facilities located in King County including Seattle, unless that person is wearing a helmet that meets the requirements of subsection (A) of this section.

Click here to visit the King County Bike Helmet and Bike Safety page.

 

There is a roundabout right near the school, what are the laws for roundabouts specifically dealing with pedestrians and bicyclists? How should cars deal with them and how should they deal with cars?

Regarding roundabouts, if a vehicle has to stop in a roundabout then that vehicle should not block the crosswalk per state law RCW 46.61.570 due to the fact it prevents pedestrians from crossing the street. If a vehicle has already entered the roundabout, another vehicle that has not entered yet has to yield to the vehicle that is already in the roundabout whether it is a motorized vehicle or a bicycle being ridden.

As far as a cyclist, if the cyclist is on the roadway then they have to follow the rules of the road just like if they were driving a vehicle. Cyclists should be very aware when using roundabouts because vehicles in the roundabout may not see them or may not know that they have to yield to a bicycle just like any other vehicle. If a cyclist choses to use the crosswalk at a roundabout, the rider should get off the bicycle and walk it across the pedestrian crosswalk. For pedestrians, although they have the right-of-way, vehicles do not always stop, so be cautious and make eye contact with the vehicle driver if possible. Cyclists and pedestrians should use EXTREME CAUTION at roundabouts!!!

For more information about roundabouts, you can read the Washinton State Rules of the Roundabout by clicking here.

 

New car seat laws are effective January 2020 and they will impact some TMS students and their families. Can you share what the changes are?

Effective January 2020 - RCW 46.61.687

  • Children 2 years of age and under must be secured in a rear facing child car seat.
  • A child 2-4 years old must be in a car seat rear or forward facing.
    The car seat must meet height and weight requirements of the child.
  • A child that is 4 years old and older and under 4’9” must be in child booster seat.
  • All children under the age of 13 must ride in the back seat when practical.
  • Children less than 16 must wear a seatbelt at all times.

The last 3 requirements impact middle school students the most and may require parents to change the seating in their cars.