(Update) Bike helmet vending machines set to open at Hubway stations delayed

Hubway is open for the 2013 season. PHOTO CREDIT: village14.com
Hubway is open for the 2013 season. Credit: village14.com

The launch of HelmetHub helmet vending machines at Hubway bike stations has once again been delayed, according to officials.

The helmet rental system was originally set to debut on Aug. 26. The rescheduled date, set for tomorrow at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, was pushed back due to a “technical glitch,” according to a HelmetHub spokesperson.

The new launch date has yet to be determined.

Plans have been underway since the spring to install helmet vending machines.

The vending machines will dispense bike helmets to either rent or buy, and the first phase of machines is expected at four Hubway bike share stations.

According to a cyclist safety report released in May, the number of cyclist fatalities spiked in 2012, a period that saw a “substantial increase in ridership.”

The report also showed that injured cyclists are less likely to be wearing a helmet than the average cyclists, and that the city should expand its distribution of low-cost and free helmets.

The stations to offer the vending machines will reportedly be in locations that attract the highest amount of “casual ridership,” or riders who are least likely to wear helmets.

Some residents have taken to blogs and social media to voice concern over sanitation.

“Because sweaty heads make for excellent sharing… gross,” one person wrote in reaction to a Universal Hub report in April announcing the effort.

Twitter user @thoughtsnprayer said yesterday, “@BostonTweet @Hubway lice everywhere are rejoicing #gross.”

Returned helmets will be collected and brought to a warehouse to be inspected, cleaned and sanitized before being put back into the machines to be rented again or bought.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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