Filtered by author: Melanie Bowzer Clear Filter

APBP Responds to Recommended Mandatory Helmet Laws from the National Transportation Safety Board

As an association of practitioners in a field that promotes and encourages safe bicycling, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) and fifty of our partners from industry groups, the private sector, community and nonprofit organizations, and national associations recently sent a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) expressing our grave concern with the recommendation on mandatory helmet laws in their latest bicycle safety report.

APBP agrees that improving the safety of people walking and biking is paramount. However, we believe mandatory helmet laws have the potential to not only reduce the number of people biking, but to actually make bicycling less safe rather than more safe.

Multiple studies across North America, Europe and Australia have shown that bicycling safety differs from other modes in one specific way. There is a safety in numbers effect to bicycling that not only reduces the rate of crashes and fatalities for people biking, but actually reduces the number of crashes, even as the number of bicycling trips increase.

In the letter, APBP stressed the importance of increasing the number of people of bicycling to ensuring bicycling is safe. Bike helmet laws are not the same as mandatory seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws. In contrast to these laws, there is clear evidence that the more people bicycling in a community, the safer bicycling becomes for everyone, and there is evidence that mandatory helmet laws can reduce bicycling rates, effecting the “safety in numbers’ argument. Mandatory helmet laws also make it harder for bikeshare, a service that increases bicycling rates and thus bicycling safety, to be successful.

In U.S. cities, the increase in bicycling trips has not only led to a reduction in crash and fatality rates, but even as the number of miles bicycled increased, actual numbers of crashes and fatalities have decreased.  APBP is also concerned about discriminatory enforcement of mandatory bicycle helmet laws, which is evidenced with the current mandatory helmet laws for minors, common across the U.S. 

Fifty organizational partners on both the national and regional level, including the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO, the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA), People for Bikes, and Better Bike Share Partnership signed onto the letter.  APBP has requested a meeting with NTSB to discuss the matter further in person.

View the letter to NTSB here.

APBP Publishes Policy Statement on Shared Micromobility

APBP supports the development of shared micromobility programs and supporting policies as a key element of a community’s comprehensive transportation system. APBP believes that shared micromobility programs have the potential to improve access and reduce barriers to amenities, services, and jobs; increase transportation options; reduce congestion on city streets; act as a catalyst for infrastructure that increases safety for all vulnerable users; improve air quality; and support local economic development. To ensure an effective, equitable, and sustainable program, communities must take a proactive approach to managing shared micromobility.

We recently published our Shared Micromobility Programs Policy Statement. The full statement can be accessed here.

APBP Mentor Visit: Yvonne Mwangi and Kate Riordan

My mentor, Kate Riordan, planner with the City of Milwaukee Public Works Department's Multimodal Unit, had invited me to her office for the day. We were so happy to finally meet face to face, but since we had been talking for the better part of a year, we felt like old friends. Fun fact, as Kate and I got to chatting, we discovered that we happened to be reading the same book: Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. Throughout this year, we have read books together but this was a total coincidence. "Great minds…".  Kate introduced me to the team at the Multimodal Unit, which is housed in the Department of Public Works.

Read the full article here.