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Advocates React To the Feds’ Latest Offensive Bike Safety PSA

This Fourth of July, we wish we could celebrate true freedom — from terrible public service announcements from our government.

Main photo: Igor Voronetski, CC

Late last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration committed to a slate of long-overdue motor vehicle safety standards aimed at regulating vehicle size and weight, increasing driver visibility, and requiring the full range of crash mitigation equipment and technologies that have been saving cyclists’ lives in other countries for years.

… Just kidding! Instead, officials released a tweet encouraging people to tighten their shoelaces and save themselves.

Of course, things like broken derailleurs and too-high seat posts are so rarely a factor in deadly bicycle collisions that they aren’t even listed in federal crash databases — but you can’t possibly expect the agency that maintains those databases to know that!


Helmets explicitly aren’t designed to save cyclists lives’ in car crashes, either, but that didn’t stop NHTSA from sunnily encouraging people to wear them.

To put it mildly, the tweet was not received well by sustainable transportation advocates, many of whom have lost loved ones to traffic violence even with helmets and panniers.


And they had some pretty strong suggestions for what NHTSA and the rest of their DOT colleagues could do to save cyclists’ lives, instead of wasting money and energy on sunny social media graphics.

Even simply getting basic side guards on large trucks could save a staggering 53 cyclists every single year, advocates pointed out — if agency leaders ever stand up to the lobbyists that have so far convinced them not to issue a mandate.

Automatically throttling drivers’ speeds like they’re already doing in Europe could help too … but NHTSA doesn’t seem particularly keen to do that, either.

Perhaps the most ridiculous thing about NHTSA’s friendly “tips” for cyclists, though, is that many of the safest bikers in the world often don’t follow them — because their streets are so safe, they don’t really have to.

But unfortunately for us this Independence Day, almost all those streets aren’t on U.S. soil. They’re in countries that have actually invested in safe systems, and skipped the misguided PSAs altogether.

The Dutch way.

The post Advocates React To the Feds’ Latest Offensive Bike Safety PSA appeared first on Streetsblog USA.

The post Advocates React To the Feds’ Latest Offensive Bike Safety PSA appeared first on Streetsblog California.

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