Local Company's Answer to Vancouver Bike Share Woes
All over the world, cities have been embracing bike sharing as a way to provide easy and temporary access to bicycles. While some cities (such as Cambridge and Edmonton) weren't initially able to work through the teething issues that accompany bike sharing (vandalism and theft) and had to temporarily abandon their program, others such as Montreal's Bixi program have thrived.
As a community, it's in our best interest to get more people cycling. Within city centres, bike sharing is a great way to reduce emissions, congestion and promote healthy living.
The possibility of bike sharing coming to Vancouver took a promising move forward back in April 2011, when the City began accepting proposals. The feedback for the introduction of a bike sharing program in Vancouver looked promising for its support.
Vancouver’s mandatory helmet law, however, makes bike sharing a little more challenging. Bikes are easy enough to share – but helmet sharing? For many people there’s a certain ick factor attached to sharing personal items such a helmet.
And what about the alternative – bringing your helmet with you? The convenience allure of bike sharing is defeated if you have to remember to bring your helmet all the time in case you decide to borrow a bike.
But all hope is not lost.
A local company called SandVault has created a prototype for a vending maching, called the HelmetStation. The helmet vending machine would be located beside bike sharing racks, and helmets could either be purchased or rented. If you decide to rent a helmet, simply return it to a vending machine when you’re finished. The helmet is sanitized between uses.
And while the HelmetStation is still in the prototype stage, it’s a promising concept that may help launch Vancouver onto the bike sharing world stage.
While repealing the mandatory helmet law may be a long way off, SandVault's innovative helmet vending machine might just be the ticket to the launch of Vancouver's own bike sharing program.