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New York May Require Bike Helmets

Advocates say the mandatory bike helmet proposal is a step in the wrong direction for traffic safety.
August 9, 2017, 6am PDT | Elana Eden
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Brooklyn Bridge Bike Lane

Gothamist reports on a bill that would require all New York cyclists to wear helmets while riding, punishable by a $50 ticket. Currently, only riders under the age of 14 must wear a helmet.

The bill relies on data, since federally renounced, suggesting that helmets significantly reduce head injuries. But bike advocates say that mandatory helmet laws can make cycling more dangerous by discouraging cycling and weakening the "safety in numbers" effect.

Rather than focus on the behavior of individual cyclists, an advocate told the site, safety campaigns like Vision Zero are "based on the idea that a system protects individuals, specifically that a system of well-designed streets protects individuals."

Studies suggest that drivers behave differently when pedestrians and cyclists are nearby—the more, the better. The best way to achieve that, advocates say, is to facilitate walking and biking by investing in infrastructure. Helmet penalties could instead discourage ridership, as it was found to do in Australia, Gothamist notes.

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Published on Thursday, August 3, 2017 in Gothamist
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