It’s not surprising Vancouver is dragging its feet on implementing the city’s promised bikeshare scheme – it’s one of the few major cities in the world with a law mandating the wearing of helmets by adults. There seems to be good reason for Vancouver to be nervous: the available evidence indicates bikeshare has failed in the only three cities its been tried in where helmets are compulsory i.e. Auckland, Brisbane and Melbourne.
These failures prompted a vigorous campaign in Australia and New Zealand for the repeal of mandatory helmet laws. The aim of advocates extends well beyond the welfare of Australasia’s ailing bikeshare schemes – most want the wearing of helmets to be made a matter of individual choice for all adult cyclists.
New figures released this week show usage of Melbourne Bike Share’s (MBS) blue Bixis reached a record high in January. Still, the performance is poor. On average, each Bixi only gets hired once per day. No data on typical hire times was made available but the pattern in other countries suggests each Bixi is used for less than 30 minutes per dayon average.