Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 2, 2018

Helmet head

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Even though the Council Referral item on Lime Bikes has been bumped off the City Council agenda since December, the City is actively seeking opinions on Lime Bike and how you, as citizens, like or do not like the program.

You have until Monday to give your feedback about the program.

It’s interesting though that in the Council Referral one of the things that the Referral wants addressed is the helmet law.  But then there is also a reference to Seattle’s new regulations and regarding helmets, this is how Seattle decided to come down on the helmet issue:

Bike shares won’t be required to do a Pronto-style helmet share, but they will be required to have visible language telling users about helmet laws and to yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Not to be super tedious but if anyone has ever visited any city outside of the United States where biking is viewed as a form of transportation first and recreation second you will know that helmet — even for kids — is deemed completely optional.  Seriously you can google any number of variations on “dutch” and “kid” and “helmet” and you’ll land on any number of pages as to why helmets are not a thing there.

While a certain number of controls to the program will make it better, attempting to regulate to the nth degree will end up killing the entire program altogether.  While that might be the overall plan, it would be highly hypocritical for the person who ran on less traffic or whatever her Tube campaigning signs used to say to attempt to kill a program designed to provide an alternative to driving in the city of Alameda.


  1. Riding without a helmet is insane.

    Comment by dave — March 2, 2018 @ 6:08 am

    • And….1. Illegal. 2. Not advisable in a litigious society like ours. 3. UNfair to the other person involved in a colision. I do not want to watch a child die. This post is very offensive.

      Comment by Ajm — March 2, 2018 @ 6:37 am

      • You seem to agree and then call my post offensive. That’s……curious.

        Comment by dave — March 2, 2018 @ 7:01 am

        • Not you, LD. Sorry.

          Comment by Ajm — March 2, 2018 @ 10:25 am

      • Riding a bike without a helmet is not illegal,unless you are minor. If you do not want to watch a child die, do not run one over with your car. You are wielding the deadly weapon and already setting yourself up as the victim in case you kill someone. The sense of entitlement with many drivers is amazing.

        Comment by BMac — March 2, 2018 @ 9:08 am

        • I don’t have to hit them, they can hit me. I”ve actually had it happen before. And, by the way, I mostly bike and walk. Don’t be so nasty.

          Comment by Ajm — March 2, 2018 @ 10:26 am

  2. This is not a micro-management issue. So they don’t have to obey traffic laws and don’t have to wear helmets. Sadly, this is a problem that will eventually result in a lawsuit after a serious injury and Alameda taxpayers will pay the bill.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — March 2, 2018 @ 6:38 am

  3. Honestly, I’m not that impressed. My preference is the Ford Go Bike Program. Here’s an excerpt about their program taken from their website:

    Ford GoBike is the Bay Area’s bike share program, connecting neighborhoods across San Francisco Bay Area. It has been planned in consultation with thousands of residents, local agencies and elected officials to ensure that bike share works for the communities it serves. Ford GoBike will completely transform the way Bay Area residents get around.

    By 2018, there will be 7,000 Ford GoBikes across San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville. New stations will be added regularly between 2017 and 2018.

    Not sure Alameda wasn’t included in this plan?

    Comment by Karen — March 2, 2018 @ 6:46 am

  4. When I ended up in the emergency room being treated for shock and road rash, after a momentary lapse of concentration, holding my helmet with a huge crack in it – that could have been my head. The medical technician said “ride a bike and at some point you’ll fall off it.”

    Don’t ever consider riding a bike without a helmet – EVER.

    Comment by Adrian — March 2, 2018 @ 8:55 am

  5. LimeBike should give away to customers or sell these all around town: I like the service. I don’t think the ones with stations would be very successful in Alameda because of the distribution of transit and shopping areas. There would have to be dozens of stations to make it convenient enough to use and the cost of the stations would make it not feasible.

    Comment by Spanky McDoogle (@SpankyMcDoogle) — March 2, 2018 @ 9:09 am

    • Yep, people may not walk to the bikes? Or walk at all. It’s small enough to walk most places here. Wonder how a shift to cycling will affect kids fitness.

      Comment by Ajm — March 2, 2018 @ 10:33 am

  6. keep Lime bikes, I love them. I like the idea of eco helmuts for the kids, as for the rest of us the law says we can make our own decisions about helmets, and that suits me just fine.

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — March 2, 2018 @ 11:05 am

  7. From the City’s FAQ: The City studied bringing bike share to Alameda in 2016. Participating in the Ford GoBike system, operated by Motivate, would cost $800,000 in capital expenditures for 120 bicycles and 12 docking locations, plus about $375,000 per year in maintenance and operation costs. This was deemed too expensive for an ongoing program. The City also explored dock‐less systems available at the time, which required bikes to be locked to a rack/post and parked in specific zones. This system, too, was quite expensive, requiring $500,000 in capital costs, plus $125,000‐225,000 per year to operate. When the new completely dock‐less systems became available in 2017, this system, for which the City pays no fees, made a lot more fiscal sense for Alameda.

    You have to be 18 to ride a LimeBike unless you have permission. LimeBike’s maintenance crew stops and provides helmets to kids if they see them riding without. More info is here:   

    Comment by Sarah — March 2, 2018 @ 1:24 pm

    • Permission? I see kids on them, sans helmets, all over. And, one often gets what one pays for.

      Comment by Ajm — March 3, 2018 @ 7:09 am

      • Same here. Ajm. It is usually a gang of 12-13 year olds taking them to South Shore, helmets or not. This 18 year old rule is news to me [as well as to the kids on the LlimeBikes]. WHAT “maintenance crew”???

        Sarah, are you sure the “City” you’re talking about is Alameda???

        Comment by vigi — March 4, 2018 @ 1:22 pm

        • “gangs” of 12-13 year olds in Alameda. Jesus fucking Christ.

          Comment by BMac — March 5, 2018 @ 1:44 pm

        • The biggest group of kids I’ve seen is 3, which might be described as a “pack”. “Gang” is definitely pejorative.

          Comment by MI — March 8, 2018 @ 1:44 pm

        • If memory serves, wasn’t there a story just a few weeks ago about one of the LimeBike crews rescuing a dog that was lost, scared and running in traffic on Webster? Apparently there are crews that travel around Alameda and help to manage the bikes.

          Comment by librarycat — March 8, 2018 @ 2:06 pm

  8. The Limebike program is great. Go Bikes cost much more, either a hefty $149 annual membership or $3 for a 30min ride. Limebike is a buck for 30 minutes and no annual commitment. For adults helmets are optional, if you think riding without one is crazy that’s cool but I don’t need you getting in my face about it or threatening to pass nanny laws. Let adults make their own choices about what they wear.

    Comment by RiderX — March 2, 2018 @ 5:10 pm

  9. I love LimeBikes, though I’ve never ridden one. They’re so dorky looking that they really add to the dorky essence of Alameda. Thing is, my wife says they’re girl bikes since they don’t have the upper rail but my reading of the design is if they put that upper rail in, then split-tails wouldn’t ride them and since only dorky males ride them anyway and they could care less where the rail is, so I say leave the rail where it is and I firmly believe that the program should continue.

    Comment by Jack — March 2, 2018 @ 5:11 pm

  10. RE: #2: If you track ALL of the vehicles on a street or at an intersection, you will probably see the same proportion of CVC violations among drivers as you see among cyclists or pedestrians. Cyclists, by and large, are just as law-abiding (or not so much) as drivers.

    Bicyclists in California are required to follow the California Vehicle Code. Our society treats bikes as “toys” and does not offer cyclists many bike-friendly roads and streets, but we are required to obey the CVC just like drivers:…21200.
    “21200. (a) A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division…”

    The comparison to European infrastructure – which is far more bike-friendly and safer to navigate for bikes, pedestrians, and transit users – only goes so far. Given that auto-centric traffic
    dominates our roadways and streets, wearing a helmet while cycling is far more important for our personal safety, since we cyclists are a much smaller minority here than in Europe. Unless and until cyclists make up half of the traffic on our streets and roads – as is the case in Denmark or the Netherlands, for example – cyclists should wear helmets, be visible, ride predictably (according to the CVC, in other words),
    and ride defensively to avoid the car drivers out there who are watching digital screens, applying makeup, or are otherwise driving (illegally) while distracted.

    In a word, cyclists should ride their bikes just like they would drive a car: with traffic, in the streets, and in the same direction as auto traffic.

    Comment by Jon Spangler, League Cycling Instructor #3175, League of American Bicyclists — March 6, 2018 @ 8:18 am

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