Have you been following the city council as they debated a new law to require helmets for kids on bikes? Did you express you opinion to a council member? According to city council member Steve Reynolds, the process to explore new rules has been rushed through the council law making process, leading to a proposed law that has not been given enough thought.
If your kid gets a proposed ticket for riding a bike without a helmet, are you ready to spend some time attending the Mayor’s court with your child, at which you will be lectured and fined some amount of money?
The new law as read by Reynolds says that the bike of an offending child can be seized by the ticketing police officer. Do you think it is a good idea to have police snatching away kid’s bikes for failure to wear a simple helmet? Is it a good use of police time to deal with taking away bikes, storing them, and arranging for the return of them after a fine has been paid?
The 9/11 of council drama
Reynolds said the council president didn’t follow her own promise to hold off on writing down a proposed law. Reynolds added some hyperbole to the debate by saying that there was a perception that the council make laws outside the council chamber, and that rushing this law “is throwing jet fuel onto that”. He didn’t feel that any positive reinforcement (cops giving treats to kids who wear helmets) could be done now that the law punishing kids for no helmets has been written.
The above video will start at the point where Reynolds begins his complaint (if it doesn’t in your app skip to 40:20). Skip forward to 1:23:55 for Panzera’s heated reply to Steve.
My take on helmet laws
I always wear a helmet when riding my motorcycle. I sometimes wear one when riding my bicycle. I always made my kids wear them. However, I don’t think a law that fines anyone for not wearing a helmet is good policy.
We have plenty of rules to follow to be on the road, and creating another one that will take up police time is too much. It’s my head (and yes, I know your money goes to pay for insurance that covers my dumb head, deal with it).
If you think that the law should be for kids, then you should also be in favor of ticketing all adults who don’t wear helmets. Maybe you do think that. You are not in the majority.
Good for councilman Reynolds for sticking up for due process in the council while making laws. As long as there is one person on the council who doesn’t feel like all sides of the debate have been heard, there should not be a proposed law written down on paper.
A side eye to Reynolds for using the term “throwing jet fuel on the debate” when discussing the perception that the council (and the board) are making policy up outside of the meetings. “Jet fuel can’t melt steel” is the meme that is used to make fun of 9/11 conspiracy nuts, and using the term was an odd choice in what looked like a serious debate. Talking about jet fuel might get you noticed, but not in a good way.
I think Reynolds went a little overboard with his criticism of the council law making process, he could have taken it down a notch. But he is right about how negative the response from the average resident will be when they find out that the cops can grab kids bikes and take them away, with no due process.
This is the time to contact the city council on the kids helmet law, for all parents, and those who are not parents, who pay taxes for police who would be enforcing the law. Let them know what you think.
Panzera blows up
Reynolds wasn’t the only member of the council that was using hyperbole. Jump forward in the council YouTube video from 1:23:55 to 1:29:20.
Anthony Panzera blows up on Reynolds, saying: “I don’t appreciate your comments on predetermined outcomes … I find your comments hurtful and offensive … Don’t try to tell us what we hear or don’t hear from the public … I had to listen to you (Reynolds) go on for 20 minutes (it was about 7 minutes) …” There was sort of an apology, but this was the the hottest council meeting in a while.
I’m going to have to go along with Reynolds on his comments about the general public distrust in all government. There has always been a percentage who believed that “Government is a racket, and we are all suckers who are allowed to vote but it means nothing”. That percentage has gotten much larger – look who we voted into the office of the president. That was a vote for “FU to both the Dems and the R’s”.
I’m not sure if that extreme distrust goes all the way down to the politicians in Grandview, but as Reynolds mentioned, only one council member kept his seat in the last election.