The issue with providing helmets is not hygenic (though that may be of concern to users), it is safety. A bike-sharer may not report an accident and so every helmet would have to be inspected after every use to ensure it has not been damaged. This would be very difficult to achieve in operation.
That makes sense. Still, the compulsory helmet issue will ensure that the bike share system is unpopular and will almost certainly fail.
If only the government took a good hard look at the issue of compulsory helmet wearing. Regardless of the arguments about whether compulsory helmets actually works to increase the community's health, the philosophical basis about whether it is right to enforce behaviour where only the individual is at risk is very debatable. What if we also banned cycling because it appears that people are safer in cars than on cycles. Perhaps we should also ban surfing due to the risk of drowning and shark attack. I would also guess that we should either ban footy or at least ensure all players wear helmets and neck guards.
An overlooked factor in the success of the London and other schemes compared to the Melbourne scheme is the area they cover.
From end to end, the London scheme covers almost 12 kilometres, while the Melbourne scheme covers less than 5 kilometres. That is, the London scheme provides for commuters, with many 5 kilometre commutes from the fringe to the centre catered for. This usage map - http://oliverobrien.co.uk/2010/08/24-hours-of-london-bike-hire-move... - shows this, with tidal flows into the centre of London in the AM and return journeys in the PM.
The Melbourne scheme, with its present coverage, doesn't cater for commuters. A ride from the edge of the scheme to the centre would be under 2.5 kilometres, so could easily be walked. I wonder if we places docking stations at North Fitzroy, the end of Canning St and St Kilda Junction whether there would be a spike in usage.
I think, more than the coverage, is the numbers of bikes.
Many people feel the length of the CBD is much too far to walk. Hell, I know ppl who wait 10 mins for a tram for 3 blocks! The Melbourne system could be a worthwhile option if -
a) there were enough bikes/stations
b) it was a little more cost effective (and even better if it used Myki)
c) all of the stuff about those things on our heads.
I do agree, however, that extending it beyond the CBD and fringes would be great. But more bikes/stations in its current area would be my preferred first step. (Err... other than those polystyrene hat things).
I have used the system on the helmet-less ride day.
I found it very easy to use.
The other similar bike share scheme I have used was the Stockholm one.
Just about everything the Swedish do, they do well and yet I found the Melbourne system much easier to actually get going with.
The problem is of course this helmet business.
It needs an exemption. As simple as that.
With seatbelt law there are about 5-6 catagories of automatic exemption and as I research this the number is rising.
What is the problem with an exemption for hire bikes or sit-up bikes?
We had the gumption to break the law in order to change it.
But why does no one in the government have the gumption to enter the discussion?
We are enjoying riding the share bikes (the URBAN machines) every week. Well done VIC!
You are doing a great job and I recon more people are proud on this bicycle system.
But take an example to the rest of the world about the helmets. Stop the law about this helmets for Urban bicycles otherwise it will not take off on the way how it needs to work as in Paris and London.
The average car speed in the CBD is less than 25 km/h, easy to ride! Crossing the road as a pedestrian or running faster than 20 km/h is a similar situation where you don’t wear a helmet as well. There is a big different between road and mountain bikes what goes faster than 35 km/h and an Urban bicycle. STOP THE HELMETS FOR URBAN BICYCELS!!!