Sunday, August 29, 2010

Helmet Law, the Curse of the Bike Share

The Age is reporting today that the Melbourne Bike share is in trouble and usage in the last month had declined. This was also from a low starting base to begin with. So the RACV (Victorias equivalent to the NRMA) is considering  a number of measures, none of which includes removing the Compulsory Helmet laws. One idea is a fold-able helmet which can be carried in around in a pocket or handbag.

I must admit this is desperation from Melbourne City Council to show that this scheme is worth the millions of dollars it has invested in it.
Bixi the company which makes these bikes must be laughing all the way to the bank. The idea of a bike share scheme is not a silly one, but if your target  only is the commuter or people already working in the city then it really is an expensive exercise. David Hembrow makes a good point on his blog that it would be far cheaper to give those that want one ,a free bike.

The tourist dollar is important to any city economy and to exclude them makes no sense at all. The Brisbane City council which will also launch a bike share scheme later in the year , has said  that its scheme will  be mainly for commuters as well. They must be watching with interest to see what is happening in Melbourne ,but there will be no waving of the helmet law.

This video highlights the use by tourists in Copenhagen to a bike share scheme but it has not always been a success.

Would it work here in Canberra, the city of the car, probably not but there is a bike hire business which is doing well and that is the bike hire for rides around Lake Burley Griffin. Mr Spokes Bike hire hasn't had the difficulty of several different bike locations but still has the compulsory law to contend with. So how do they get around it? Helmet are supplied with the Bike hire and

'The helmets are sprayed with disinfectant after each days trade, BUT, we always advise that people bring their own hair/head cover to wear under the helmet if they have concerns.' Jillian,Mr Spokes Bike Hire

Interestingly the Pedal Cars are exempt from wearing helmets, but its all about the 'risk' isn't it.


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