|Map of Pronto stations|
With the launch of Pronto, Seattle joins other cities in the United States, like Boston, Chicago, the District of Columbia, and New York City, with bike-sharing programs. However, Seattle is unique among those cities insofar as Seattle, and all of King County, require that cyclists wear helmets. Although Seattle is the first U.S. city to try to implement bike sharing while mandating helmets, cities outside of the United States have faced the same issue. For instance, Vancouver, Canada, has been engaged in a years-long and oft-delayed effort to implement bike sharing. Critics contend that the delays are largely attributable to British Columbia’s bike helmet mandate. Currently, Vancouver is anticipating a launch date in 2015. Melbourne, Australia, implemented a bike-sharing program alongside a mandatory helmet law. That system, despite an available government subsidy for users to purchase a helmet, has not had the success enjoyed by other cities with bike-sharing that do not mandate helmets. Notably, as of August 2014, no fatalities have been recorded in the United States among bike-share users since the launch of the first program in 2007.
For an in depth look at bicycle helmet statutes across the United States, see John B. Egberts et al., Bicycle Helmet Statutes: An Analysis of State Legislation, 23 J. Legal Aspects of Sport 36 (2013). In that article, the authors discovered that nine states that mandate bike helmets provided in their statutes that failure to wear a helmet would not be admissible at trial as evidence of a cyclist’s negligence. See id. at 41-42.
Map image from https://secure.prontocycleshare.com/en/map/
Unicycle race picture from https://johnansell.wordpress.com/category/sport/unicycling/