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St Louis County Bicycle Helmet Law

Summary: This email has info on the St Louis County Bicycle Helmet Law, including the street sign they developed.

From: Shirley Scatcherd SScatcherd@stlouisco.com

Subject: St. Louis County law listing revision

I was reviewing the listings for St. Louis County (STLCO) under your LAWS tab. There are two things that should be revised to more accurately reflect the actual language of the STLCO ordinance. First, we need an asterisk to indicate that the law applies to all wheeled sports and not just bicycling. Second, in drafting the ordinance I fought to use "ages 1 through 16 years" rather than "under 17 years of age" as the target population. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under one year of age not wear helmets, due to the potential for injury related to a lack of neck strength. I did not want our ordinance to conflict with their recommendation. Admittedly, this makes publicity related to the ordinance more cumbersome. However, as a representative of the St. Louis County Department of Health (DOH) under whose (public health) authority the "Notice of Violation" are written, I felt it was critical to make this distinction in the ordinance.

The DOH citations are 3 part NCR forms with one copy going to the child or parent, one retained by the issuing officer or park ranger, and one is forwarded to me. I maintain the database and send follow-up packets to the parent/guardian of any child cited. The packet includes information on seven partnering locations in St. Louis County where children can be fitted with a free helmet, a helmet fitting guide, bicycle safety tips brochure, and a return parent survey.

FYI - I have attached a copy of an informational street sign I developed. (Most of the graphics came from Clip Art. I used "shapes" to make the scooter and tricycle.) I collaborated with SAFE KIDS - St. Louis to finance the production of 300 such signs, which are the same size and quality as "No Parking Here to Corner" etc. signage. We plan to conduct an observational helmet use survey next spring prior to posting the signs in collaboration with several municipalities throughout St. Louis County; and again 6 months later. I'll send you a FYI report of our findings after the 2nd observational survey.

I really like the example of the Vancouver ordinance you have posted. I wish I had had it in hand when I organized the task force. Maybe in a few years we can go for a similar revision to the wording of the St. Louis County ordinance.



Shirley Scatcherd
(MCH) Public Health Coordinator
Saint Louis County Department of Health
4000 Jennings Station Road
St. Louis MO 63121
email - sscatcherd@stlouisco.com
phone - 314-679-7874
fax - 314-679-7876