National Transportation Safety Board recommends all 50 states require helmets

Pink Don't Thump Your Melon helmets in storage before being handed out to children.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, South Dakota is one of twenty-nine states with no laws requiring bicyclists to wear helmets. In a hearing on Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended all 50 states enact laws requiring their use.

In 2018, 957 bicyclists in the US died in wrecks with motor vehicles, a 6.3% increase from 2017.

"Helmets are meant to break, they're foam, they're meant to actually give, you know, they're a single impact use helmet," said Ian Estes, co-owner of Black Hills Bicycles.

In Rapid City, the community-based education program Don't Bump Your Melon seeks to keep cyclists safe by wearing helmets. Through the Regional Health Foundation, it provides free bike helmets to children.

"We range everywhere from toddler, all the way to adult extra large," said Russ Davis, a registered nurse at Regional Health Center.

Davis says that it he would rather meet kids handing out Don't Thump Your Melon helmets rather than in the ER.

There are nearly 4,000 Don't Thump Your Melon helmets here in storage, ranging in colors from blue, red, purple, black, and pink. They're all outfitted with stickers that say Don't Thump Your Melon.

"I think everybody on a bicycle should have a helmet on," said Davis. "I think it's a good thing that they want to enact this in all 50 states. I completely support it."