The Melbourne program will be extremely important to watch. It is the first large deployment of a bike-sharing system in a country with a mandatory bicycle helmet law. Will this law curtail the spontaneous usage of non-subscribers? Will the need of a helmet discourage usage? Will there ultimately be a work around for bike-shares not to be fined for not having a helmet?
The system has a daily rate of $2.50 AU ($2.10 US), a weekly rate of $8.00 AU ($6.75 US), and a yearly subscription of $50.00 AU ($42.00 US) with the first ½ hour usage at no charge and escalating ½ hour charges thereafter. All in all, the system has very reasonable pricing. According to ABC news, the system cost $5.5 million AU ($4.6 million US). Early reports on the first full day of operation state that Melbourne Bike Share is a real hit with tourists. Maps of nearby shops which rent or sell discounted helmets will be available at each station.
Image: The AgeRussell Meddin bikesharephiladelphia.org