BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on federal and state agencies to help keep cyclists safe and bring down the number of bike crashes.

It’s an effort to keep cyclist safe and it might start with the use of helmets.

NTSB released a study suggesting new laws that mandate using helmets would bring down the number of crashes between cyclists and drivers, but cyclist advocates say they don’t agree.

“While a helmet can prevent some, the biggest injuries and things that lead to fatalities, a helmet isn’t a solution in those,” said Bikemore’s Executive Director Liz Cornish.

Other’s recommended improving roadway infrastructure, visibility, and new signs that would give riders the right of way.

“We know the number one way you can prevent injury to vulnerable road users is to create safe places for people to ride that are separated from traffic,” said Cornish.

Cyclists Bernardo Vigil wants to see a physical barrier that separates them from drivers.

“You’re really taking other people’s lives in your hands and that’s something I think a lot of drivers don’t want to consider they just want to get where they’re going 5 seconds faster,” said Worker-Owner of Baltimore Bicycle Works Bernardo Vigil.

The report comes after two major fatal crashes involving cyclists back in 2014.

Thomas Palermo was killed by former high ranking episcopal bishop Heather Cook while riding a bicycle in the bike lane at Roland Park.

Police say she was driving drunk and texting when she hit him.

In 2017, 20-year-old Aaron Laciny was hit and killed while riding a bicycle in Towson.

Police say his killer was never found.

Virgil says these incidences are both tragic reminders that cyclists and drivers need to keep the roadways safe.

“There’s a real human cost to this, so I do get upset I get frustrated but its sort of a mournful reminder how little people value other people’s lives on the road,” he said.

Other ways to reduce crash risks include using adaptive headlights and limited speeds on shared roads, stated by officials.

 

Kelsey Kushner

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