Melbourne's Bike Share scheme has had a bit of a rough ride (no pun intended). Costing around $5m in taxpayer's money, uptake in the first year was disappointing and the knives were out in local government.
In reality, Australia's strict helmet laws ($175 fine if you're caught riding a bike without one) had a significant impact on the pace of adoption. Commuters who had a helmet were likely to have a bike too (I have no official stats to support this assertion, but I have a sneaking suspicion my analysis is correct) and tourists were hardly inclined to splash out upwards of $50 just so they could ride from Flinders Street to Southern Cross and back.
So the decision was taken to offer $5 helmets at 7-Eleven's around the city. Better still, return the helmet and you get $3 back. The cost to local government? Only $15 per helmet. But I think it was the right decision and I understand that the sight depicted in my photo from a few months back is less common now, as more and more bike stations now have plenty of empty spaces.