Helmet law a big mistake

Kitsap County needs a helmet ordinance like it needs a hole in the head. Even so, there’s a good chance we’ll soon have one.

Kitsap County Health District Director Scott Lindquist last month provided the county commissioners with a draft ordinance requiring that bicycle riders of all ages be required to wear an approved safety helmet. The wording of the measure is currently being reviewed by the county’s civil prosecutors and, if it passes muster there, there could be public hearings and, ultimately, a vote.

County Commissioners Chris Endresen and Jan Angel have both expressed support for such a measure, as has Port Orchard Mayor Jay Weatherill.

It’s a mistake. Worse, it’s a misinterpretation of the whole purpose of government.

We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with bicycle helmets. They prevent injuries and save lives and we think everyone should wear one. But we think everyone should eat their vegetables, too. Does that mean the county should empower its deputies to write out a ticket to everyone who passes up brussel sprouts in the buffet line?

The role of government is to perform tasks and provide services we can’t provide for ourselves — like paving roads and protecting our lives and property. It’s not the government’s job to nag us — like some publicly financed mother — to take better care of ourselves.

Suppose we let our police and law enforcement officials go back to chasing murderers, rapists and meth dealers and leave the naughty children to their parents.

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