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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Urban Planet: Can bike-share programs overcome the helmet hurdle?

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Bike-share programs have really been taking off in North America over the past few years, but not in municipalities with strict helmet laws.

This article takes a look at the pros and cons of helmet wearing and how it affects participation in bike-share programs.

And here, this NY Times article speaks to the bottom line: “To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets.”

Urban Planet is a roundup of blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

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  1. I’ve actually used Bixi in Melbourne and found it quite well set up around the helmet issue. Helmets are available for $5 at 7-11 stores and some other places, all marked on Bixi maps. (They could use a few more locations so there’s one no more than 1-2 min walk from any bike station.)

    If you return the helmet to a 7-11, they give you $2 back. A Bixi day pass costs less than it does in Canada ($2.60) as well, making the helmet purchase easier to justify.

    It would be interesting to see an analysis around why the program isn’t working as well. I’d bet helmets aren’t the only or the biggest factor. 

  2. I really don’t like going out riding without a helmet – some bright lights dimmed after heads met pavement many years ago.
    But I do NOT want to have legislation unless we really look at the cause of injuries and apply reason.
    I’d suspect that a major factor in collisions and crashes are motor vehicles, and if we really were worried about public health in traffic, we’d first privatize the car exhaust, but also make sure that everyone on the street wore helmets ie. pedestrians, motorists, transit users and cyclists.
    “Accidents” can happen any time any where right?