This afternoon’s Brisbane mX newspaper ran a front page story on the struggling CityCycle bike hire scheme:
Brisbane’s bike hire scheme has become a “gimmick” for visitors, with only one in four regular riders taking a subscription for longer than a week.
Brisbane City Council figures show only 1,800 of the 4,800 active users each month had a long-term subscription.
This may not be so surprising, as anyone who did start using CityCycle regularly would figure out they would be better off buying their own bike. However, there is no denying that CityCycle is in trouble, with very low usage. Part of the problem is Queensland’s compulsory helmet law, which discourages cycling on CityCycle and also in general. While some CityCycle bikes come with helmets, I’m sure many people would worry about wearing a helmet that has been worn by many people before them, especially in sub-tropical Brisbane in which it’s easy to work up a sweat while riding.
Given helmets massively discourage cycling and hence are bad from a public health perspective, the Government should seriously consider implementing recommendation 16 of the Parliamentary cycling inquiry’s November 2013 report:
The Committee recommends that the Minister for Transport and Main Roads introduce an exemption from Queensland road rule 256 for all cyclists age 16 years and over using a bicycle from a public or commercial bicycle hire scheme.
Road rule 256 is the compulsory helmet law. Exempting CityCycle from the helmet law would be a great idea, and I expect it would increase usage. Indeed, getting rid of the helmet law entirely would be even better, as I’ve discussed before:
In case you haven’t seen a CityCycle bike yet, here’s a picture of one outside my apartment building: