Posted on: December 8, 2016

Helmets Still the Law in East Grand Rapids

Bike Helmet
Bicyclists up to age 18 will continue to be required to wear a helmet while riding in the City of East Grand Rapids.

At its Monday, December 5 meeting, the City of East Grand Rapids Commission chose not to repeal Chapter 105 of Title X in the City Code, which makes bike helmets a legal requirement for anyone under age 18.

The ordinance was up for review because of its difficulty to enforce. The Public Safety Department found that community education, especially within the schools, has been the most effective strategy in promoting the use of bicycle helmets.

Still, when commissioners turned to the public for feedback, the overwhelming majority was in favor of keeping the ordinance in place.

“We spent a lot of time talking and listening to residents on this,” Mayor Amna Seibold said. “We pride ourselves on the bike-friendly community we’ve created so, before making any changes, we wanted to take time to understand what is best for our residents. 

“We found they were overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the ordinance in place. We know that wearing helmets saves lives – and we want to reinforce this behavior with our children. According to our residents and school officials, keeping the ordinance in place provides this reinforcement.”

The Commission will continue to look at ways the ordinance may be updated to assist Public Safety in enforcing the ordinance while maintaining its strong stance on safety. 

“When my kids were growing up, I always appreciated being able to say ‘wear your helmet – it’s the law’ so I understand our residents desire to keep this ordinance in place,” Seibold said.

The Public Safety Department, through an East Grand Rapids Community Foundation grant, holds bike safety programs at the East Grand Rapids Public Schools throughout the year, including providing students with helmets and bike locks.
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