You can't go far in Seattle and other surrounding cities in the Puget Sound region without seeing one of those brightly colored bikes. Limebike, Ofo and Spin are three of the bike share companies operating in Seattle under a pilot program for the last year. Now the city is considering letting the companies expand and add even more bikes.
While some love the convenience of the bike shares and applaud that the 2-wheel mode of transportation is more environmentally sound, others have voiced concerns about the bikes being improperly parked and a lack of enforcement when it comes to safety.
Currently, there is no state law requiring helmet use for bicyclists. However, some cities and counties do require helmets according to the Washington State Department of Transportation . In Bellevue, helmets are required and while Seattle does have a helmet law on the books, safety advocates argue it's not being enforced right now, possibly because of the number of bike share companies in town.
Deborah Crawley is the executive director of the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington , a group that has taken a leadership role in advocating for helmet requirements for all state bike share programs and enforcement of current laws in King County that require a bike helmet for individuals using public roads.
"Research clearly indicates that 85% of all brain injuries can be prevented by using a helmet," said Crawley. "While millions are being spent on bike lanes (which we support) we also see the need for funds and requirements to enforce current laws and to make helmets mandatory for bikes and e-bikes on our streets."
This year, the BIAOW is hosting it's 5th Annual ride to support prevention of brain injuries, newly named BrainRide . This years ride is specifically focused on increasing public awareness on safe bike-riding with a helmet.