Bike sharing programs, such as the Houston B-cycle program available in Houston, offer a great way to easily transport people around a city, while helping the environment. However, there may be a downside to the programs that was recently discovered by some American and Canadian researchers.
The researchers studied ten cities – five with bike-share programs and five without. In the cities with the bike share programs, there was a 14 percent increase in bicycle-related head injuries. The cities without bike share programs had a 2.3 percent decrease in bicycle-related head injuries.
One problem with bike-sharing programs is that they do not supply helmets for riders. Riders must provide their own helmets. The authors of the study concluded that helmets should be made available and incorporated into bike-share planning. Boston, which was one city studied by the researchers, is planning to include helmets with bike rentals. The helmets will be stored in boxes next to each bike, and they will be taken to a warehouse for cleaning and inspection after they are returned.
However, most cities have no plans in the works to offer helmets with their bikes. Helmets cannot be as conveniently rented as the bikes, and sanitation and the helmet’s safety can become issues with multiple uses. Instead, the bike share programs urge users to bring their own helmets, which is unrealistic for many people. Most who participate in the program opt to ride without a helmet.
It can be dangerous to ride a bike without a helmet. No one plans on becoming involved in a bicycle accident, but they occur every day in the U.S. Some involved in bicycle accidents suffer only minor scrapes and bruises, but others are seriously injured or even killed. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident in the Houston area, you should speak with an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation.