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Citizens shun scheme which requires them to wear a helmet

Compulsory helmet-wearing is killing Melbourne’s cycle hire scheme.

That’s the inescapable conclusion being drawn by the city’s residents if posts under an article in the Melbourne Age are to be believed.

The Age reports that, on average, just 183 trips a day are made on the 450 hire bikes, which are costing taxpayers $5.5 million (Australian) over four years. That figure compares poorly with Dublin’s scheme, which has the same number of bikes but averages 3020 trips a day.

Melbourne and Brisbane are the only cities in the world whose cycle hire schemes are subject to compulsory - and enforced – helmet-wearing laws.

Things have now got so bad that the city is now subsidising the sale of cycle helmets, with each lid costing the city $8 in subsidies.The penalty for riding a bike without a helmet in Melbourne is a $146 fine.

One poster to the Age website appears to sum up the general consensus: “The scheme had a built in Achilles heel and it ended up going lame. I hope no one is actually surprised that it's going so badly.”

Another says the problem is the Australian government's inability to properly interpret and act upon statistics: “The government is effectively choosing the high likelihood of death by heart attack over the low likelihood of death by head injury.”