TAGS: helmet vending machine, Boston bike riders, Hubway bike-rental spots, HelmetHub, Hubway, Boston's bicycle-sharing system, solar-powered vending machine, bike safety, helmet rental kiosk
BOSTON – Bike riders can rent helmets from solar-powered vending machines stationed at some of the city's most popular Hubway bike-rental spots starting in July.
A group of undergraduate students at MIT worked with the city to create the machine, dubbed HelmetHub, to encourage helmet use along Hubway, Boston's bicycle-sharing system that launched last summer with 60 solar-powered touchscreen rental kiosks. | SEE STORY
Each HelmetHub can hold 36 helmets adjustable to most head sizes, which users select using a touchscreen display. Rentals cost around $2 and riders will also have the option to purchase the headgear. Renters return their helmets to a designated kiosk and they're sent to HelmetHub's headquarters to be cleaned and sanitized before being distributed to the next customer.
The city said it will test four machines for a few months before rolling out additional helmet venders at other Hubway stations. Plans call for having 14 to 16 HelmetHubs in place by October.
Meanwhile, the city has encouraged bike safety by persuading retailers to carry steeply discounted helmets, sold in the $7.50 price range that helmet-maker Bell reserves for nonprofits and government. It's hoping the conveniently placed vending machines will encourage greater helmet usage.