In an effort to improve safety, the Ohio State bike-sharing program will provide up to 700 free helmets to students, faculty and staff who sign up for an annual membership this semester.
The helmet giveaway is supported by a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation.
OSU announced its intention to create a bike-sharing program, a joint initiative between the university and Undergraduate Student Government, in January as a response to students’ expressed desire to have a bike-sharing option on campus. The university’s bike-share bikes are provided by Zagster, a Massachusetts-based company that was one of five bike-sharing companies whose bids were examined by the university in March.
“We fully support the use of helmets,” said Dan Hedman, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Transportation and Traffic Management. “Our goal is to enhance the safety of our campus community.”
The bike helmets are valued at $45, according to the OSU Transportation and Traffic Management website.
So far, more than 300 people have registered as BikeShare members, and about 100 free helmets have been distributed since the program launched on Sept. 2.
Currently, there are 115 rentable BikeShare bikes available at 15 stations across campus.
“We have more members sign up than we have helmets distributed,” Hedman said. “That can be attributed to people who already have helmets.”
Some students who didn’t previously own a helmet are happy with this action.
“I think it’s a really good deal,” said Nader Elkurd, a third-year in exploration who registered for an annual membership. “I would have subscribed to the membership even without them giving me a helmet.”
Hedman said that students must be 18 years old to check out a bike from the campus bike share.
The Department of Public Safety is hoping that more students, faculty and staff take advantage of the OSU bike-share program and receive a free helmet.
“We will be looking at helmet distribution and usage and will explore opportunities to further distribute helmets,” Hedman said.