This popular sports activity is caught in the NTSB’s crosshairs, and exercise enthusiasts are furious they’re being targeted.
While known mainly for their investigations into airplane crashes and major automobile accidents, there is a darker, more regulatory side to the agency.
That’s why Donald Trump needs to rein in the out-of-control NTSB before it’s too late.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is known both in real life and action flicks as the “good guys” – the guys who come in and take control of crash sites, study black boxes, and determine the cause of major, and often deadly, crashes.
They’re famous for solving puzzles, if not crimes, involving planes, trains, automobiles, and sometimes boats.
But what most people don’t realize is the NTSB’s involvement in passing laws that – while some are well-intended and even smart – infringe on individual liberties and the local government.
Through the years, they have used their power as an agency of the federal government to force states and localities to pass such anti-liberty laws.
And now, the NTSB is issuing its latest call to action.
As reported in the Independent Journal Review:
“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.”
The NTSB reported that 857 bicyclists died in crashes involving cars and trucks in 2018 – a 6.3% increase from 2017.
According to the report, approximately 63% of those deaths involved cyclists who were not wearing helmets. The NTSB’s report further stated that head injuries were the leading cause of death in those cases as well.
However, no concrete statistics were available to back up the head injury numbers.
Clearly, as most serious bicyclists will tell you, wearing a helmet is a smart and safe thing to do. However, the NTSB reports that only about half of all cyclists in the U.S. currently wear helmets.
And the vast majority of cycling organizations are actually against passing these helmet laws.
They’re joined with civil libertarian and small-government conservative groups that view such laws as infringing on individual liberties and stifling personal freedoms in the name of safety.
But for cycling organizations, their opposition goes even deeper than that.
While the rise in cycling has continued to increase due to concerns about the environment and personal physical fitness, cycling organizations worry that mandatory helmet laws and other restrictions will decrease enthusiasm for cycling.
Currently, there are no statewide or federal laws requiring helmet use, although many localities do require those under the age of 18 or 16 to wear helmets.
Only time will tell if the NTSB will be reined in like other federal agencies, or if we will soon see mandatory bicycle helmet laws nationwide.