Spokane County commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday requiring helmets for bicycling and other wheel sports in unincorporated areas.
The law applies only to children 3 through 15 years old, and carries no penalty.
Commissioner Mark Richard moved for an ordinance with penalties that would apply to adults as well as children, but he couldn’t get a second. Commissioners Todd Mielke and Al French said they didn’t want to pass an ordinance that wouldn’t be enforced.
French said he was frustrated by lack of enforcement of the Spokane bicycle ordinance, which applies to adults and children and has penalties.
“I don’t want to repeat that mistake here,” French said, noting he voted for the ordinance in 2004 when he was on the City Council.
Mielke called for an ordinance for children 4 through 15, but French persuaded him to extend his motion to 3-year-olds. French noted he has a 2 ½-year old grandson who will soon need a helmet.
Many young children need helmets because they ride in child carriers on their parents’ bicycles, French said.