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Helmet Laws Can Make Biking Less Safe

 by Julie Hanus


Tags: Politics, U.S., cultural criticism, laws, bicycling, helmets, safety, public health, Next American City,

Bike Path Helmet IconA helmet protects your noggin while bicycling, but helmet laws can make cycling more dangerous, according to Next American City. Safety in numbers explains the paradox: “One of the biggest determining factors of bicycle safety is not protective wear, but the number of other cyclists out on the road,” Justin Glick writes. Helmet laws—because they imply cycling is dangerous—tend to depress ridership, sometimes dramatically.

“Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has strongly opposed mandatory helmet laws in New York City on multiple occasions for just this reason,” Glick writes. “Their spokesperson . . . explains how it’s an issue when cycling morphs from a ‘spontaneous activity, as commonplace as going for a walk,’ into something seen as ‘more cumbersome, less safe.’ ” Yet studies have shown that cycling is no more dangerous than driving or going for a walk.

Source: Next American City

Image by Dan4th, licensed under Creative Commons.