At the end of August, vending machines are dispensing something new that will help you go the distance– literally. Debuting at four Hubway bike share stations in Boston? Helmet vending machines.
The first city in the U.S. to do this, Boston’s goal is to make sure cyclists are wearing helmets as they pedal through the hectic, busy streets of one of America’s biggest cities.
The first helmet vending machines will be located outside the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. Locations for the other three pilot helmet vending machines have yet to be determined but they’ll likely be installed at Hubway stations that attract casual riders, as they’re the least likely to wear helmets.
Pricing has not been finalized but bicycle helmet rentals are estimated to be priced around $2 for 24 hours. To buy the helmets the cost is estimated at $20. Initially, payment by credit card will only be accepted. Each helmet will be “unisize” and each machine will hold between 30 and 36 helmets.
Returned helmets will be inspected and sanitized upon return and the user’s credit card will be charged accordingly.
Each machine costs about $10,000 and will be paid for through a mix of funding from grants, sponsorships, advertising and revenue.
In the future, those behind the helmet vending machines hope an additional 10 machines to be opened across Boston. Unlimited helmet rentals free with a Hubway membership– or perhaps a one-time cost– is also being considered.