Solar-powered vending machines rent out bike helmets for safe cycling

First Brooklyn gets vending machines for bike parts, and now Boston is getting vending machines for bike helmets. As programs for renting bikes expand across the nation, so too do programs and infrastructure that support cyclists -- and Helmethub's aim is to keep cyclists safe, and without an excuse for riding helmet-less.

According to psfk, Helmethub is launching a solar-powered vending machine in Boston in July.

The vending machines, each holding 36 helmets, will be located next to Hubway locations, the city's bike-sharing program. Cyclists will be able to rent helmets for about $2.00 at the same time they pick up their rented bike. The machines can even dispense three different sizes of helmet to make sure it fits the user correctly.

When helmets are dropped off by users after use, they're picked up by the team and sent to Helmethub headquarters to be inspected and cleaned before being placed back in the vending machines. The machines provide real-time info to the team so they know when each machine needs to be restocked, or used helmets need to be picked up.

This creative provides no excuse to hit the road without safety gear -- and it is the first program of its kind in the nation.

pfsk writes, "The concept for Helmethub originated from twelve MIT undergraduates and was first revealed during their 2011 Product Engineering Final Presentation, a product-design course that tasks students with building prototypes from scratch in one semester. Since then, the company has worked tirelessly to refine their product offering in preparation for a street debut."

We love seeing this initiative to keep cyclists safe, especially those who are renting bikes and so are less likely to own their own helmet. We'll see how Helmethub's new program works throughout the summer and if it is successful, perhaps other cities will adopt the system to go with their bike-share systems as well.

Tags: Bike Accessories | Bike-Friendly World | Bikes | Bike Sharing | Biking | Gadgets