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What are the Bicycle Helmet Laws for Seattle and Washington State?

Washington state law does not require bicyclists to wear a helmet while riding. That means that the decision to set and enforce bicycle helmet laws is left up to the local cities and counties to set their own bike helmet laws. King County and the city of Seattle do require bicyclists to wear helmets while riding in public.

King County first established a law requiring bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets in 1993. However, that law did not apply within city of Seattle until it was later updated in 2003. That law was repealed in February 2022 and took effect in March 2022 but, a number of cities within King County have their own ordinances requiring the use helmets and were unaffected by the repeal. 

Washington State Localities Requiring Bicycle Helmet Use

Below is a table listing all of the localities in Washington state that currently have active laws requiring helmet use among bicyclists, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT): 

Locality Who Is Affected Effective Date
Aberdeen All ages 2001
Bainbridge Island All ages 2001
Bremerton All ages 2000
DuPont All ages 2008
Eatonville All ages 1996
Fircrest All ages 1995
Gig Harbor All ages 1996
Kent All ages 1999
King County* All ages 1993 (Updated in 2003)
Lakewood All ages 1996
Milton All ages 1997
Orting Under 17 Years Old 1997
Pierce County (unincorporated) All ages 1994
Port Angeles All ages 1994
Port Orchard All ages 2004
Poulsbo Under 18 Years Old 1995
Puyallup All ages 1994
Renton All ages 1999
Spokane All ages 2004
Steilacoom All ages 1995
Tacoma All ages 1994
University Place All ages 1996
Vancouver All ages 2008
All Military Installations All ages N/A


*As of March 2022, the King County law requiring the use of helmets for bicyclists in King County was repealed. There are 17 cities within the county that have their own mandatory laws that were not affected by the repeal. Those cities include: 

  • Auburn 
  • Bellevue
  • Black Diamond 
  • Burien
  • Des Moines 
  • Duvall 
  • Enumclaw 
  • Federal Way
  • Issaquah 
  • Kent
  • Lake Forest Park 
  • Maple Valley 
  • North Bend
  • Pacific
  • Renton
  • SeaTac
  • Snoqualmie

Contact The Attorneys at Davis Law Group

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident or other type of incident due to the fault or negligence of another person, Washington state law may entitle you to pursue a personal injury claim against the person responsible for causing your injuries. You may be able to recover damages for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other losses. 

Contact the award-winning Seattle bicycle accident lawyers at Davis Law Group today to request a free legal consultation with our top-rated legal staff. Call (206) 727-4000 or use the confidential contact form on this page to get started with a complimentary case review.