Infrastructure Must Reads: Boston Gives Bike Helmets a Try

Helmet dispensing machines will debut in Boston over the next few weeks. Plus, more news you should know about transportation and infrastructure.
by | August 26, 2013

Bike-share programs are popping up in big cities across the country at a rapid pace, and most are missing a key safety item: the helmet.  To up the number of riders on congested city streets with head protection, HelmetHub, the brainchild of recent MIT graduates, will start dispensing helmets for rent at several bike-share stations in the Boston area within the next few weeks. I spoke with co-founder and CFO Breanna Berry about the program in this edited and condensed transcript.

What's the launch going to look like?

We'll be releasing our pilot program soon in Boston. It will start off with four machines at four locations. Those will be directly attached to the bike-sharing docks. It will expand around October or November to 14 machines.

How did you come to work with the city?

The city of Boston's bike director, Nicole Freedman, presented at MIT our senior year in our capstone design class. She came in and said that the city has this great bike-sharing program [and that] the only problem is it doesn't have helmets available for users. The city views it as a huge liability, and it's something the city wants for its citizens. That drove our initial interest; we thought there was a substantial market for it. We presented a prototype -- both to the city of Boston and to our class -- and the city of Boston followed through.


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