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De Blasio: Citi Bikers may be required to wear helmets soon

Mayor Bill de Blasio has one possible solution to this year’s spate of cyclist fatalities: helmet requirements for Citi Bikers.

“I have thought about that,” he said in response to a question at September’s monthly crime stats press conference Wednesday. “That’s something we’re talking about inside the administration.”

There have been 21 cyclists killed in New York City since the start of the year, including one Citi Bike rider.

Yet while a helmet may be a “no-brainer” for most people, the safety benefits are not necessarily supported by research. British psychology researcher Ian Walker has found that helmets encourage risky and dangerous road behavior by both cyclists and adjacent drivers.

A 2016 study by Toole Design Group, meanwhile, analyzed data from eight different countries and  found that while the US had the highest rates of helmet use — 55 percent — it also had the highest rates of cyclist fatalities.

There’s also the question of who would provide the helmets: In Vancouver, where helmets are mandatory for all cyclists, the local bike-share company provides riders with helmets as well as disposable hairnets.

“There are different viewpoints on what would work and how much impact it would have,” de Blasio told reporters. “I think the big questions are: Is this something we could actually enforce effectively? Would it encourage or discourage people from riding bikes?”

“I care first and foremost about safety, so we’re having that discussion right now,” he added. “It’s a really valid issue.”

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