Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bowling Shoes For Your Head

These helmet rental Vending Machines aim to keep cyclists using a bike share program safe… buuuuuuut part of me thinks it's a way to cover liability issues surrounding rented bikes without helmets.

HelmetHub hasn't rolled out in any cities yet but I imagine they are targeting cities like London, Paris, Montreal and New York with extensive bike share programs. Users can rent the helmets or buy them. One reason Bixi can't even approach Vancouver is their tyrannical local bike helmet law means you'd have to bring your own helmet to ride a rented bike. Now that there's been a death in Toronto after someone tried doing bmx style bike tricks on a Bixi, there might be some acceptance of the idea of this bowling shoe for your head here too. The details of that death, a guy not wearing a helmet trying tricks on a Bixi bike at 3:45 AM at Underpass Park, led police to conclude "Death by Misadventure" – in other words not a typical use case – meant it didn't really lead to any helmet law rally. That and mayoral scandals have kept any other issue off the radar. Though CBC did their best by constantly referring to the bike as a "Bixi" as if the brand should sound alarms.

My reaction is somewhere between "Ugh…" and "what the 'eff'?" or similar derivatives. Who would want to wear someone else's lid? Also the size of the kiosks are akin to two stacked refrigerators which I doubt would be acceptable in New York City where affluent neighbourhoods have already complained about the scale of the bike share racks appearing on their streets (take one of many pills you probably have laying around to control your mood, New Yorkers). Not to mention how these things vend the helmets out the bottom into a metal rack where if said helmet were to fall to the ground it would void the warranty (another issue I have with helmets is any unseen crack makes the thing instantly useless so say standards agencies such as Snell and CSA thus fuelling fasle sense of safety and righteousness of the wearer).

I do wear a helmet but only so I have a place to put my Obey sticker, and maybe to shut people up about it. Yet, I don't care for it all. Not so much for the helmet hair (you need hair to have that problem, I presume) but my particularly and peculiarly small noggin and unique physiology mean the strap of any helmet of any sport puts a most unwanted strangle hold on my throat right where that gag-reflex starts.

So then, "thumbs down" on another convoluted way for one group to cover their ass by making another group cover their head.