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Helmets now a must in Port Orchard
Starting Oct. 11, getting caught on wheels without a helmet could cost you $25.
The Port Orchard CIty Council on Monday night unanimously passed Ordinance No. 1953 requiring those on bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, roller skates or scooters to wear a helmet.
This is a critical ordinance to pass, said Melinda Harmon of the Kitsap County Health Department in a brief presentation made before the council.
According to Harmon, a helmet can reduce injuries by over 80 percent, saving taxpayers $30 for every dollar invested in helmets.
The ordinance was placed on the agenda after specifications needed to be made to include skateboards riders in the ordinance and explain proper procedure when a child under 12 years old is riding alone.
Several came to support the passing of the ordinance, including Marcie Powell, an emergency room nurse at Mary Bridge and coordinator of the Safe Kids Coalition, a group dedicated to providing a helmet to anyone that needs one.
No one is ever going to go without a bike helmet, Powell said, referring to the Coalitions efforts to provide low- and no-cost helmets to anyone in need.
Powell also explained to the council the benefits of passing a helmet law.
According to Powell, in any community there is a large percentage of people who will hear helmets because it makes sense. But there is a smaller percentage that will never wear them.
Powell said the helmet ordinance will reach the percentage of citizens who will wear helmets and remind their children to as well because its the law.
Thats what a law will do for a health education issue, Powell said.
Port Orchard is not the first to enact a helmet law. The city joins Bainbridge Island, Bremerton and Poulsbo in doing so.
According to the Port Orchard Police Department, those who violate the helmet ordinance will be issued a $25 citation. If this is an individuals first citation, they may appear in court and show he or she has come into compliance (by obtaining a helmet) and the citation may be dismissed.
There are currently several programs available to those who need reduced or no-cost helmets to comply with the ordinance, including mary bridge at Harrison Silverdale and Fire District 7 Headquarters.
For more information on helmet fittings and obtaining a helmet, visit www.cfsf.net/childhoodsafety.htm.
Other Council actions:
The Council unanimously authorized the mayor to sign the Teamsters Local No. 589 agreement with municipal court employees, police clerks and public work employees.