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Come on America, lose the helmets

Bike sharing programs in America may be even more successful if they (gasp) lose the helmets.

New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal explains why in this op-Ed.


To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets

By: Elisabeth Rosenthal
Published: September 29, 2012
20121004-192723.jpgImage by: Eric Hanson

ONE spectacular Sunday in Paris last month, I decided to skip museums and shopping to partake of something even more captivating for an environment reporter: Velib arguably the most successful bike-sharing program in the world. In their short lives, Europe’s bike-sharing systems have delivered myriad benefits, notably reducing traffic and its carbon emissions. A number of American cities — including New York, where a bike-sharing program is to open next year — want to replicate that success.

So I bought a day pass online for about $2, entered my login information at one of the hundreds of docking stations that are scattered every few blocks around the city and selected one of Vélib’s nearly 20,000 stodgy gray bikes, with their basic gears, upright handlebars and practical baskets.

Then I did something extraordinary, something I’ve not done in a quarter-century of regular bike riding in the United States: I rode off without a helmet.

Read more: here.

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