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City Still Working on Hubway Helmet Solution

While city officials are still eager to partner with MIT helmet vendors HelmetHub, a fix to the lack of helmets on the Hubway is unclear.

Boston’s Hubway bicycle sharing system provided 650,000 trips in its first 12 months of operation, and while the program appears to be a success there’s been one glaring omission: helmets.

Kris Carter, interim director of Boston Bikes, said at a Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association Meeting that a helmet system was supposed to be in place last fall but never came to pass. 

“The Mayor is aware of the need,” he said.

Carter was at the meeting to pitch the idea of a Hubway station in Jamaica Plain, but a conversation on the system's lack of helmets erupted. He said Hubway officials are looking into teaming up with HelmetHub, an MIT-based company, which has created a helmet vending machine.

Though the Hubway system has exceeded expectations there are still those who view the current lack of helmets as a deal breaker.

Carlos Icaza, member of Jamaica Plain BAPA, recently suffered a concussion after falling over the handlebars of his bicycle. He was wearing a helmet at the time, and he said the Hubway's helmet problem needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

“I think it’s a serious flaw in the system that you don’t have access to helmets,” he said.

Carter said the Mayor’s office is stressing education and community outreach in the meantime.

Kristopher Carter November 15, 2012 at 01:50 PM
To clarify this article, since Hubway's launch, the City has distributed 4,732 low-cost helmets through the Hubway website and with partner vendors across the city identified on the Hubway system maps.
Mark Johnston November 15, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Helmets are great - everyone should wear a helmet... AND - we should also focus on making the city safe enough for bikes that helmets aren't necessary: plenty of lane separation from car traffic and separation from parked cars to prevent dooring, wholly separate bike lanes, and reigning in aggressive drivers.
Monica Briggs November 17, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I think more education about where to get the subsidized helmets mentioned by Kristopher is very important--helmets should be mandatory. I have relied only on my bike for the past 27 years, and feel that helmets are essential--they will never be "not necessary," no matter how "safe" the city gets--just like seat belts are essential for cars. I have broken 3 helmets in accidents that had nothing to do with other cars.

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