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HelmetHub helps bicycle riders protect their heads

HelmetHub’s Breanna Berry, Ignatius Chen, Laura Ware, Ron Perez, and Danielle Hicks.

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

HelmetHub’s Breanna Berry, Ignatius Chen, Laura Ware, Ron Perez, and Danielle Hicks.

Here’s the good news: Bicycle riding in Boston has risen dramatically in recent years, thanks partly to the introduction of the Hubway bike-share program.

The problem: Just 42 percent of Hubway riders wear helmets, according to city counts. That’s roughly half the rate of helmet use among people riding their own bikes.

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An MIT startup called HelmetHub set out to change that last fall, introducing helmet rental kiosks at Hubway stations in Boston. Now, when riders borrow a set of wheels, they can check out safety equipment to go with it.

Each solar-powered kiosk holds 36 helmets, which rent for $2 each. There’s also an option to buy a helmet for $20.

The return arrangement works just like the Hubway system. There’s no need to bring the helmet back to the station where you rented it. Just drop it in the HelmetHub kiosk at the Hubway station closest to your final destination.

The company also offers software for its rental kiosks, called HelmetView, which lets bike-share programs such as Hubway track usage and damage, so they know when a station is running low or a helmet needs repair.

Callum Borchers can be reached at callum.borchers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.
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