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News

Vancouver bike share faced with uphill legal climb

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson wants the city to have a public bike system, even if the provincial law requiring cyclists to wear helmets remains.

The current legislation would require that Vancouver have a duty of care to ensure that a person renting a bicycle from a public kiosk wears a helmet. Since the city would not be able to make certain that renters have helmets, it could be held liable if a cyclist rents a bike from an automated kiosk, doesn't wear a helmet and has a serious accident.

Coun. Geoff Meggs had previously told Business in Vancouver that the province's law requiring cyclists to wear helmets is the main obstacle in launching a program in Vancouver similar to those in Montreal, Paris and London cities that have no law requiring that cyclists wear helmets. Meggs believes that B.C.'s helmet law might scare away some corporate sponsors because those sponsors could have a higher liability risk in a jurisdiction that has a helmet law than in one that does not.

Melbourne, Australia, is likely the only city that has both a bike-helmet law and a bike-sharing program. That program has so far been viewed as a failure. Two months after Melbourne's civic government parked 600 bikes in 50 docking stations in the city, it had only sold an average of 70 rides a day, according to Australia's Herald Sun newspaper.

That contrasts with Montreal's program, which logged a million rides in its first five months.

Business in Vancouver October 5-11, 2010; issue 1093

Tue 5 Oct 2010

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