Bicycle Helmets And Bike Share Programs Are A Tough Mix

Milan Bike Share/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

New York City is getting a bike sharing system soon, and the bicycle helmet debate raises its ugly head again. Bike share systems and helmets don't play well together; Nobody is going to share helmets, but nobody is going to carry one around all the time either.

Elisabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times writes about the problem in To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets. she interviews the experts:

“Pushing helmets really kills cycling and bike-sharing in particular because it promotes a sense of danger that just isn’t justified — in fact, cycling has many health benefits,” says Piet de Jong, a professor in the department of applied finance and actuarial studies at Macquarie University in Sydney. He studied the issue with mathematical modeling, and concludes that the benefits may outweigh the risks by 20 to 1. He adds: “Statistically, if we wear helmets for cycling, maybe we should wear helmets when we climb ladders or get into a bath, because there are lots more injuries during those activities.”

Rosenthal also writes "Before you hit the comment button and tell me that you know someone whose life was probably saved by a bike helmet, I know someone, too." That didn't stop hundreds of people hitting the comment button to call her crazy and irresponsible. But the fact is, it is hard to share helmets, and you are just not going to see people on shared bikes wearing them.

More in the New York Times

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Bike Sharing | New York City

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