NTSB Wants New Laws in All 50 States Forcing Bicyclists to Wear Helmets

The National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency largely responsible for age-21 drinking laws and graduated drivers licenses, is calling on legislators in all 50 states to pass new laws that would require bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets.

The agency said urgent action is needed to curtail the number of fatal accidents involving cyclists and motor vehicles.  “If we do not act to mitigate head injury for more bicyclists, additional bicyclists will die,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

In the agency’s first review of bicycle safety since 1972, it said 857 bicyclists died in crashes with motor vehicles in the United States last year, a 6.3% increase over 2017. More than 63 percent of those riders were not wearing helmets, and head injuries were the leading cause of death in those accidents.

There are currently no state-wide or federal laws requiring bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets, though many localities have passed such rules and many more require them for riders under the age of 18. The NTSB says only about half of cyclists currently wear helmets with any regularity.

The vast majority of cycling organizations oppose compulsory helmet laws, arguing that such personal safety mandates infringe on peoples’ civil liberties and lead to overall decreases in cycling activity.

In the report, the agency also recommended other measures to improve road safety for cyclists, including infrastructure that separates cars and bikes on roadways and improved collision-avoidance technology in cars.

The NTSB has issued more than 14,000 safety recommendations in the course of its existence, according to a report to Congress five years ago, nearly three-fourths of which have eventually been implemented.

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William Conley, What’s your skin in this game? Are you a bicyclist as I am? I wear a helmet because there are stupid people on the road, whether they are driving, walking, or riding a bicycle. You mention the elderly or incompetent. You failed to mention unlicensed and uninsured illegal aliens driving. Bias much? It’s hard to obey traffic laws when you cannot read the signs, have no training, and should not be here in the first place. Care to build a more objective evaluation or do you just hate the elderly? Bicycle lanes are an excellent idea. Let’s have… Read more »


Good. Isn’t this EXACTLY what the nanny-staters (a surprising amount of overlap between them and bicyclists) want?

If they will NOT be responsible for their own safety, then they should ALL sign waivers and organ donation cards.

William Conley

Why not just make bicycle only lanes that if you’re not riding a bicycle, and you enter with a motor vehicle you get a fine three fines and your license is suspended for 90 days. Better yet we should make mandatory driving exams every ten years a law ever seen how many people can’t drive or are clearly too old to be driving. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen some geriatric going twenty miles under the speed limit, or they’ll just like drive off the damn road. People seem to have forgotten driving is a privilege not a… Read more »

General Confusion

“A good example of a similar law might be the one requiring seat belts in cars.” Joyce

Or motorcycle helmets.

I am confused by your down votes, since everything that you posted is correct. Maybe they think that they are invincible.

Michael Bankston
Michael Bankston

I bike instead of drive and always wear a helmet. I have been told that helmets are not reliable. While this may be true, a helmet can make a head injury less severe. I agree that bikers of all ages should wear helmets because a helmet can reduce the chane of paralysis – even spare your life.


A friend of mine fell off his bike and hit his head on a curb. His helmet saved his life. People who refuse to wear a helmet when they ride their bike become a burden on society when they become brain-damaged. It seems to me that the community has a right to insist that riders protect themselves. A good example of a similar law might be the one requiring seat belts in cars.

General Confusion

Mindy: get off our roads
Jeffrey Moore: nanny state.

I am confused. Make up your minds!

Jason Alsbrook

More overreach, more “we know what’s best for you more than YOU DO.” Another excuse to write tickets. Stay the hell out of our lives, government. As usual, there will be people who adamantly support this, for “safety concerns”. If you want to wear one DO IT. Just don’t tell ME to do it..





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