Councilman David Greenfield has recently proposed a bill that would require all New York City bike riders to wear helmets. As he said,
“Helmets save lives, plain and simple. It is common sense, but we still have far too many people biking around the city without a helmet. This law will help protect cyclists and will prevent serious injuries and deaths.”
The current law requires cyclists under the age of 13 and professional delivery riders to wear helmets in NYC. Interestingly, head injuries account for about 33% of all cyclist emergency room visits and for 75% of cyclist deaths. Helmets have been proven to reduce the risk of serious head injuries by more than 60%.
The new law would require all bike riders on streets that have public traffic or are city park property to wear helmets and there would be fines attached to their violation.
Greenfield explained that,
“This legislation is not about punishing cyclists, it’s about encouraging them to ride safely. Helmets are cheap, light and literally save lives. This law is long overdue and will help reduce the number of cyclists who visit local emergency rooms or are hospitalized as a result of injuries sustained while not wearing a helmet.”
Mayor Bloomberg (who is quite busy arguing about the size of your next soda) is opposed to the plan, as one of his aides confirmed. Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson pointed out that, “There’s a reason why no major city has imposed a mandatory bike law. That’s because the best way to protect cyclists is to avoid accidents in the first place, and you do that with more bike lanes.”