NYC: A Bike-Share Program Without A Helmet Requirement Is Totally Fine

If you don’t own a bike, the odds are slim that you happen to own a helmet that you can wear while cruising around a city like New York on a bike-share set of wheels. As such, there’s no helmet requirement in the city, which the administration says is just fine. Others say this lack of safety will increase injuries and fatalities in a city that doesn’t sleep and certainly hates to slow down.

As the Associated Press aptly points out, it’s a bit of an off-note from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration — that of the no sugary drinks, anti-smoking and poster of calorie counts — which is often seen as quite protective of its citizens’ health.

That being said, perhaps there’s nothing to worry about: The Citi Bike program thus far has reported over 500,000 rides and just three minor accidents.

City officials say it would be impractical to enforce a helmet mandate, while still encouraging riders to use them. It could also serve to dampen the appeal of a spontaneous spin on a bike, thus thwarting the impetus behind the program which is to increase the city’s bike culture. Proponents of the program also say the more bikes there are on the road, the more cars will slow down to avoid hitting them.

Critics aren’t appeased, however.

“It seems counter to logic not to require bike share participants to wear helmets,” said Robert Sinclair Jr., spokesman for AAA New York. “We are very worried about setting tourists loose on the busy streets of New York.”

It’s worth keeping in mind that NYC is set to give away 20,000 helmets in 2013, and annual members of the program can get $10 off a new helmet at any bike shop in the city. If you’re worried about riding without  helmet during a visit to NYC but don’t want to buy one from say, a newsstand, ask your hotel if they have helmets on hand you can borrow.

What do you think?

No Helmets Required For Bike Share In Busy NYC [Associated Press]