11 Nov 2019

NTSB Announces New Recommendations For Bike Helmets

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently announced its recommendation that bicyclists be required to wear a helmet in all 50 states.

Fox 10 in Phoenix reports that the federal agency’s recommendation comes as the result of a sharp uptick in deaths of bicyclists across the United States.

The NTSB found that in 2018, an estimated 857 bicyclists died in crashes involving a motor vehicle. This figure is a 6.5% increase in the number of reported bicyclist deaths in 2017.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters in a recent press conference, “If we do not mitigate head injury for more bicyclists, additional bicyclists will die.”

The Governor’s Highway Administration believes that such a proposal may be a hard-sell because currently, no state requires adult bicyclists to wear a helmet even though some do require minor children to wear them.

Many believe helmet laws make sense since 19 states and Washington D.C. require them of adult motorcyclists, and 28 states currently have laws in place requiring children who ride motorcycles to wear a helmet.

In addition to the requirement of helmets in every state and improved safety clothing, which will make bicyclists more visible to motorists, the federal agency also recommends improved signage and designated bicycle lanes.

A further recommendation of the NTSB is to work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to update automobile crash testing evaluations to include the ability to avoid crashes with bicyclists.  The NHTSA is expected to update its rating criteria of automobiles next year. The new assessments will likely include tests for vehicles with onboard crash avoidance technology, emergency braking, and pedestrian detection systems.

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