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NYC Deputy Mayor: Bike Lanes, Not Mandatory Helmet Laws, Save Lives

Thursday, May 31, 2012

NYC Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson (photo by Fred Mogul/WNYC)

How are oversize sodas and bike helmets alike?

According to a New York City official, they're really not.

New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson -- an avid bicyclist -- was at a press conference Thursday for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on super-sized, sugary sodas. He was asked why the mayor didn't support mandatory bike helmet legislation for all riders (like the bill just introduced into New York's City Council by council member David Greenfield.)

You can listen to Wolfson's explanation below, or read his response.

"First of all, there's no other major city in the country that has a mandatory bike helmet law, and there's a reason why. The thing that actually saves the lives of cyclists is protecting them from drivers, which we have done more in this city than any other city in America. It's why our fatalities are down in this city, accident fatalities are down to an all-time low. So we are making enormous progress in keeping cyclists alive. I understand there is a council person who has promulgated this. He is not a friend of bicyclists. He is against bike lanes. So I'm not going to take -- and this administration is not going to take advice on protecting cyclists from somebody who has consistently been against the things that saves the lives of cyclists. As somebody who bikes to work nearly every day, I can tell you what saves the lives of cyclists. It's separating cyclists from cars. And we've done more of that in this city than any other city in America. We're going to keep doing that, we're going to keep driving down fatalities, we've been successful at it. We're not going to take advice from people who aren't actually on the side of cyclist safety."

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Wolfson also underscored his point by tweeting it at Greenfield.

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