Bicycle traffic in Boston has increased tremendously in the past decade. The rise in bicycle commuting and bike-share programs are largely responsible for the surge in ridership. In a new effort to make city biking safer, the bike-share program Hubway recently added the city's first bike helmet vending machine.
Two weeks ago, Mayor Thomas Menino announced users of Boston's Hubway program were now able to rent helmets with their bicycles. The first "HelmetHub" machine was installed at the Hubway location in the Fenway area. That area was recognized as one of the most dangerous for cyclists in the city commissioned 2013 Boston Cyclist Safety Report. Mayor Menino set a goal to cut the cyclist crash injury rate in Boston by 50 percent by 2020 through measures based the city's findings. The safety report compiled years of data on bike collisions in the city, including statistics on the locations and times of crashes, helmet use, and bicyclist and motorist behavior.
The MIT designed HelmetHub is the first helmet vending machine of its kind in the United States. If the statistics indicate the program has been successful, then it is slated to be adopted throughout the city. The HelmetHub vending machines will be installed first at the city's top Hubway station if the pilot program is successful. The top Hubway stations are at: Beacon and Arlington streets, Boylston and Arlington Streets, Charles Circle, North Station and South Station.
The Hubway locations are strategically placed throughout Boston to ensure profitability and sustainability of the program. It is widely known that helmets greatly decrease the risk of suffering catastrophic head injuries. HelmetHub is meant to address that issue. The lack of helmet availability has consistently been criticized, especially in light of the popularity of the bike share programs with tourists in the city.
The consequences of a bike accident may be devastating when the rider does not wear a helmet. As the Boston Cyclists Safety Report recognized, most bicycle accidents occur between vehicles and bicycles. To date, helmet usage has been relatively low, and some of these accidents have been catastrophic. Sudden impacts to the head may result in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other debilitating injuries. The brain injuries may be moderate or severe; and the impact on a victim's body may be chronic and significant. The symptoms of significant head trauma, primarily caused by a swelling of the brain, include loss of memory, dizziness, mood changes and blackouts.
If you or a loved on sustain a serious bicycle accident, you should consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.