Boston Debuts Helmet Dispenser For Its Bike Share

Bike share becomes first in North America to rent helmets

This June we brought news that Boston’s Hubway bike share was to pilot a helmet-sharing scheme. The program, called HelmetHub, officially launched this week, making Boston the first city in North America to offer helmet rentals with its bikes, according to Hubway’s website.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino revealed the new helmet vending machine Tuesday at a Hubway kiosk near the intersection of Boylston Street and Massachusetts Avenue, reports Reuters.

The machine will dispense helmets for $2 for a 24-hour period, or $20 for purchase, according to Hubway. Helmets can be returned to the solar-powered station, where they will be collected and sent to a sanitation facility for cleaning between rentals. Each machine can hold up to 36 helmets in three sizes, according to HelmetHub’s website.

Boston is testing the program with a single machine, and plans to expand it in 2014 after gathering more data, reports Reuters.

Other cities are likely to watch Hubway’s helmet experiment closely. Encouraging helmet use has been a tricky issue for cities with bike shares. New York City chose not to require helmets when it launched Citi Bike in May, largely out of the fear that it would deter potential riders—but still encourages all cyclists to wear them. Washington, D.C., Chicago and Denver all have similar problems.

If Boston’s program is a success, we might start seeing similar vending machines across the country. 

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