On Sunday, the National Hockey League announced it will allow a motorcycle as a vehicle.
It’s a bit more complicated than just having a bike on the side of the vehicle and then being able to drive on it, as the rule would have required for a car.
The NHL’s head of safety and health policy, Dave Smith, told reporters in Las Vegas on Monday that the rule has to do with the safety of people and the health of others.
“It’s a safe way to travel, it’s a safety issue, and it’s something we’ve worked with our partners to make it safe,” Smith said.
“So we’re making it a safe, healthy way to do so.”
The rule would allow the use of a motorcycle on a street, in a parking lot, in an intersection or on an intercity highway.
Motorcycles could also be parked on an intersection and then moved laterally by the drivers to another lane or even across the street.
Motorcycle drivers would need to have special permission from other vehicles.
“The motorcycle is going to be in a different lane, which is what we’ve always been looking for, to allow us to be safe on our roads,” Smith told reporters.
“We’re also making sure that it’s not a hazard to the public.
And it’s safe to do.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says motorcyclists are not the only ones that need permission to drive.
Drivers of motorcycles are required to have a special permit for their vehicles and some states allow motorcycle drivers to carry a child in the back seat.
The rule also has the added benefit of keeping the game safer for people who ride their bikes on roads that aren’t designed for motorized traffic.
The goal is to reduce injury and death from collisions and road rage, Smith said, noting that the number of motorcyclist deaths in the United States is lower than that of other vehicles, such as buses, in part because motorcyclism is often associated with road rage and a lack of education.
“That’s why it’s such a great thing for us to have,” he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it has studied motorcycle use for more than a decade and has determined that it is safer than a car and that the risk of a fatality is low.
“As the safety director of the NTSB, I am confident that we will find that there is no increased risk for the safety and well-being of the public,” NTSB Chairman Paul A. O’Neill said in a statement.
“Motorcycles are designed for speed, and when a rider is going at 55 miles per hour (in a 40 mph zone), they are designed to do that at a very high rate of speed.”
The safety board has also said it will study whether a motorcycle could be a passenger vehicle and if it would be acceptable to allow it on public highways.
In addition, it will also study whether motorcycle riders could be allowed to carry their children on their bikes.
“If there’s a question as to whether a rider’s child is being transported on a motorcycle or if a rider might want to carry another person on their motorcycle, then that’s a valid question for the agency to explore,” Smith explained.
The NHL has made safety an issue of its mandate since its inception in the 1930s, with a goal to reduce deaths and injuries caused by cars and other vehicles on its roads.
In the past five years, the league has instituted rules that require riders to wear helmets and seat belts and to use hand signals when approaching traffic.
The league also has adopted a helmet policy and is testing helmets and a new set of bicycle safety equipment for the 2014-15 season.
“I think we’ve been really successful in protecting the lives of people,” Smith acknowledged.
“And I think we can take that and make sure that we’re protecting the safety at the same time.”
The NHL’s safety officials and safety advisers are reviewing how to incorporate motorcycle riders in the league’s safety plans and are expected to make a recommendation to league executives in March.