To Helmet or Not to Helmet… That is the Question! It is a classic debate, and one which has garnered more attention recently as more communities consider introducing bike share systems. The question often asked is, how can a program that relies on a patron’s ability to spontaneously grab a bike accommodate users that would prefer to ride with a helmet? Many solutions have been proposed, including helmet rental schemes, ultra-portable folding helmets, and even disposable helmets! In municipalities where helmet use is mandatory, such as Seattle and Melbourne, these compulsory helmet laws have been blamed for bike share programs that have failed to thrive.
All this begs the question: in a city such as New York, which has a successful bike share program, and allows its citizens to don whatever headwear they feel most appropriate while riding a bike, just how many Citi Bikers are wearing helmets? To investigate, we dispatched The Observer’s ever-vigilant pollsters yesterday morning to survey Citi Bikers.
Start: Greenway at Christopher Street, 7:48 A.M.
Finish: Greenway at 76th Street, 8:08 A.M.
Weather: Low-40s, cloudy and breezy.
And now, the results:
No Helmets: 18
Of 31 polled, only about 42 percent wore helmets. Would this mean a 58 percent drop in Citi Bike ridership if helmets were made mandatory in New York City?