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NYS encourages residents to wear bicycle helmets

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  • Staff Report 

In recognition of Bicycle Safety Month, the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection is emphasizing the importance of wearing helmets while cycling, regardless of age. New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez highlighted that helmets can save lives and urged cyclists to don appropriate safety gear before embarking on their two-wheeled adventures. The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research reported that in 2021, 1,455 bicycle crashes where helmets were worn resulted in seven fatalities and 121 serious injuries, while the 3,946 crashes without helmets led to 32 fatalities and 378 serious injuries.

The Division of Consumer Protection issued guidelines for proper helmet usage to enhance cyclist safety. Cyclists should wear helmets specifically designed for biking, which fit snugly and comfortably, and are secured with a chin strap. Helmets must meet U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards and display a label confirming compliance. The Division advises against modifying helmets with paint, stickers, coverings, or attachments, as these can affect the foam’s effectiveness.

Cyclists should replace their helmets as needed, particularly after a fall or crash. Properly stored helmets should be replaced every 5 to 10 years, or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Damaged helmets, such as those with cracks or worn foam lining, should also be replaced. In addition to wearing helmets, cyclists must follow the same traffic rules as motorists to prevent accidents. This includes riding with the flow of traffic and, when possible, cycling away from traffic on parks, trails, and bike paths. For more information on safety tips and regulations, the New York DMV’s website can be consulted.