Monday, August 1, 2011

How Do We Please the "American" God of Bike Helmet Compulsion?

From Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C. Helmet imagery everywhere is bad enough, but showing bad fitting is pathetic (and I told them directly and indirectly many times about this photo).

Well, well, well...

You would think that they (Alta Bicycle Share, various govt. officials with the honourable and good intentions of implementing bike share, etc.) would have learned (a lesson in/their lesson in) Melbourne.

Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C. is bad enough, seemingly not strictly requiring helmets but limiting liability of the operator if injuries are incurred by helmet-less users (helmets are not required under D.C. law for people old enough to use the bikes) See Section 26 of User Agreement in the previous link and their Safety Page. (This programme is partly funded by taxpayers; one wonders why people who ride collective public transport in D.C. do not have to sign a safety pledge about e.g. proper foot attire.)

Sadly, with the new bike share system in another USA right-coast city which opened last week, it gets worse.

NYC's bike share operator may be decided this month. Whoever the winner, given the high amount of helmet-wearing there, endorsement of helmets by Janette Sadik-Khan and Transportation Alternatives, and general victory of the "Everything is Good" Committee, I would not be surprised if the rules there also mandate helmets.

Draw a Line in the (left-coast Canadian) Sand against Helmetism at Velo-city Global 2012 in Vancouver!

Update - 9:44pm: @BrooklynSpoke Tweeted earlier this evening: "I don't think they will enforce helmet use. Seems like a way for Hubway to cover itself against litigious Americans." - This is clearly the case, but - as I mentioned above - why does collective PT not have the same conditions, and how about just using the pavement (sidewalk)? Compulsion is compulsion.


Jym said...

=v= Check this out: Israeli helmet law repealed to assist a bike-share!

Erik Sandblom said...

Though you might like this. San Diego Motorists Coalition has approved mandatory helmets…for motorists ;-)

Mandatory Helmet Laws: Approved

From one thing to another, some aquaintances feel velomobiles are a good solution to fear of cycling because a velomobile gives some protection. They think it will help people take the lane.

What do you think of that? I feel it might just be a band-aid and not solve the real problem.

Slow Factory said...

Thanks, Erik... ya I saw the website for that great motoring organization earlier today.

Velomobiles are efficient, fast and expensive. I think they have a big niche they can fill.

Taking a lane? Hmmm... cannot speak from personal experience but velomobiles feel too low for mixing with motors. I think I would get claustrophobic.

But David Hembrow and others have a great time and do fast commuting all over the northern part of the Netherlands... I would like to see some family versions...