NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Gov. Andrew Cuomo is out with new e-bike regulations, requiring some riders to wear helmets, but pedal bike riders are still free to ride without protection.

The legislation requiring helmets for e-bike riders who go faster than 25 mph is meeting with a mixed response, reports CBS2’s Jessica Moore.

Craig Smith rides his bike every day, but never wears a helmet. Under current New York law, he doesn’t have to.

“I don’t know, it’s just uncomfortable,” he said.

Why is the governor so “helmet happy” when it comes to some bikes and not others?

“We need clear laws. We need clear rules. We need clear regulations. And they should all start with safety first,” he said.

So why not require helmets on both types of bikes?

“Well look, these are issues we discuss all the time,” said Cuomo to CBS2. “These bikes theoretically go faster than a pedal bike, hence more of a need for a helmet.”

Last year in New York City, 29 cyclists were killed, and many were not wearing helmets.

In November, the NTSB urged all 50 states to require helmets for all bicycle riders, saying they dramatically decrease deaths, but some transportation advocates bristle at the idea and insist a helmet requirement would discourage cycling.

MORE: Read The NTSB Report On Bike Helmets And Head Injury (PDF)

“I’m against a helmet mandate for cyclists,” said Gersh Kuntzman of Streetsblog NYC.

He’s an avid cyclist who always wears a helmet himself, but he fights the idea of having to do so.

“Studies also show there’s a ‘strength in numbers effect’ with cycling,” he said. “Cyclists are safer if there are more of them and a helmet laws inhabit the number of cyclists.”

New York law requires anyone under 14 to wear a helmet while riding a bike. Cuomo dismissed the suggestion of upping that age to 18.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson have both been outspoken against the idea of requiring bicyclists to wear helmets in New York City.

Comments (2)
  1. James says:

    “Last year in New York City, 29 cyclists were killed, and many were not wearing helmets.”

    Do you think 100% of those would have been saved with a helmet? If you look into the actual incidents, most were run over by trucks/cars etc. Helmets would have been useless and would maybe have helped a few of those cases, maybe…

    In contrast 215+ drivers were killed in their cars, many could have been saved with a helmet. This doesn’t include the pedestrians they hit… which I guess could also use helmets in a few of their cases.

    We might as well ask drivers, pedestrians and transit riders to wear helmets, we could save literally thousands of lives, if we really want to talk safety. To require one mode of transit wear gadgets for safety and not others when the science clearly shows the potential benefit in all cases is just profiling and not what our country stands for… Its a free country, your safety is your choice.

  2. Your inference is incorrect: “29 cyclists were killed, and many were not wearing helmets.” Do you have any support for this statement? Any studies that support this or any comments from helmet makers. Since helmet manufacturer’s do not support this statement and no studies support it I find it irresponsible for you to make the statement.

    Member of the ASTM helmet committee and US representative to the UIAA helmet committee.

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