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Bicycle Safety

Bike-Crash Study Fuels Discord Among Agencies

5:27 PM EDT on July 14, 2006

From Crain's Insider:

An unreleased study of bicycling fatalities has led to friction among the three city agencies compiling it. The police, transportation and health departments analyzed the deaths of 200 cyclists over 10 years and found that only one of them was in a bike lane.

An insider says DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall didn't conclude that lanes are the answer. Instead, because the accidents often involved head injuriese, Weinshall wants to call for a law mandating helmets. But the NYPD isn't eager to enforce a universal helmet law and the health department isn't ready to call for one.

Last summer, transportation officials cut the annual creation of bike lanes and routes to 20 miles from 30. A spokeswoman for the DOT says the agency is committed to increasing the pace of bike lane installations.

Cycling groups say that other cities' helmet requirements for adults have reduced cycling by 25% or more, which raises the danger for remaining bikers. Advocates believe that the emphasis should be on preventing accidents, not on mitigating injuries.

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