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Helmet laws will hinder Vancouver's bike share program: Coun.

(Kayla Butler, NEWS 1130, Photo)

Councillor says the laws don't exist in other cities with bike share programs and it's been a success

Mobi in Vancouver has been operating in Vancouver for nearly a month

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Take it from someone who is a big fan of bike share programs who says you can blame BC’s helmet law if Vancouver’s Mobi program doesn’t succeed.

A New Westminster city councillor says so-called ‘on-a-whim’ decision-making is what drives successful usage in other, less bike-friendly cities, like New York.

Patrick Johnstone says everything else about Vancouver is a win, like density downtown and in the Commercial-to-Kitsilano corridor. “It provides another option for people to get around. I think it’s time for it, I’m just concerned that we need to have a rational discussion about helmet laws and how they fit in an urban cycling environment.”

“What purpose is the helmet law providing? Bike shares are safe. New York City has had 25 million rides on their city bikes program and they’ve had no fatalities and no major injuries.”

Vancouver’s bike share program has been running since last month and it gives the public access to 250 bikes at 23 stations in the downtown core and surrounding areas, with the plan to expand to 1,500 bikes at 150 stations by the end of the summer.

The City of Vancouver has promised a $5 million subsidy over five years, but like any business, Mobi’s ultimate success will depend on riders and sponsors.