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Rental Helmets, Coming Soon to a Bike-Share Station Near You

11:23 AM EST on February 29, 2012

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With the rising popularity of bike-share systems around the world, one inevitable issue is the availability of helmets. This is particularly true in the United States, where a bare-headed cyclist is considered a daredevil miscreant who's practically begging for trouble.

Enter HelmetHub, a bike helmet vending system developed by students at MIT. Spurred by a call from the city of Boston, which wanted to get more bike-share users to use helmets, the HelmetHub crew is looking to go worldwide. Network blog Bike Lane Living has the story:

The HelmetHub has several design features that make it sustainable for the rigors of city use. The first thing you’ll notice is the narrow width for efficient use of tight city sidewalk space, and the user interface is just like that of the bikeshare system. There’s no need for external power hook-up as they draw everything they need from a solar panel. This makes installation much more efficient and keeps costs low.

Working with Bell Helmets they will dispense helmets for only $8, and these can be returned after the ride. That’s a small price to pay for the added safety of a helmet.

Not content with simply creating this innovative safety solution, the MIT students are rolling out an aggressive global business plan for HelmetHub. Beginning with 20 beta testing units in Boston this summer, they plan to sell an additional 500 units to municipalities for installation in 2013. Their 5 year plan calls for 6,200 unit sales.

Also on the Network today: In other bike-share news, the Bike-Sharing Blog reports on the Bubi system, coming soon to Budapest; a poll analyzed by Spacing Toronto finds residents split on support for subways and light rail; and Fort Worthology ponders a puzzling message on the wall of a Dallas parking garage.

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