In an effort to promote physical activity and reduce traffic in and around its campus, Children’s Hospital Boston is a proud co-sponsor of a new city-wide bike sharing program that kicked off Thursday at Boston’s City Hall. Dubbed the “New Balance Hubway,” the program provides 600 rental bicycles, which can be picked up and dropped off at any of the 61 solar-powered stations set up throughout the city.
People can register with the Hubway program online for discounted rates, or simply go to any Hubway station and borrow a bike. Once you’re done with your ride, you return the bike to the nearest Hubway station and your credit card or rider’s account will be automatically charged for the amount of time used. It’s like Zipcar, but with pedals.
Modeled after proven successful bike share programs in cities like Paris, Montreal, Washington D.C. and Minneapolis, Children’s is hopeful that hospital employees, parents or visitors may pick up a bicycle near the hospital at one of the six local Hubway station and ride to an offsite meeting, run an errand downtown, or get some exercise on the Esplanade. Of course cyclists should always wear a helmet, and should you find yourself in the area but without the proper protection Children’s lobby Safety Store is now selling adult bike helmets for $10.
While on the topics of bikes, here are a few quick bike safety points for parents of young riders:
- Wear helmets low on the forehead—two finger widths above the eyebrows. Place the helmet evenly between the ears. It should be sitting flat on the head. Tighten the chin strap and adjust the inside pads so the helmet is snug. The helmet should not move up and down or from side to side.
- When riding on the road, be alert. Children under nine years old should not ride on roadways, as they do not yet have the skills to identify and avoid dangerous situations.
- Children should not ride at night. Blinking lights and reflector tape may make them slightly more visible after dusk, but not enough to ensure their safety.
- Teach your child the appropriate hand signals when they are old enough to ride in the street. Hand signals are the only communication a motorist and cyclist have when sharing the road. You may hesitate to have your child perform a signal that requires her to ride with only one hand, even for just a few seconds, but a child who doesn’t have the skill to steadily control her bicycle while signaling isn’t yet ready for street riding. Remember, many bicycle accidents could be avoided if the rider had better communicated their intended actions to drivers.