The launch of Philadelphia's long-awaited bike-share program couldn't have come at a better time, with the city finally breaking free from an icily confining winter to enjoy spring.

Indego has logged more than 25,000 bike rides since April 23. More than 3,600 riders have bought monthly passes, including some who apparently either have never ridden a bike or haven't in a long time. As they struggle to keep their bicycles balanced, or abandon the streets for sidewalks, one can't help but think more novice bikers should be wearing helmets.

Indego does strongly encourage safety and even has cautionary tips written on the handlebars of its cerulean-colored bikes. Over the summer, expect to see bike-share representatives at community fairs and block parties. There also are plans for safety rodeos, where children's bikes will be checked and hesitant adults will be given gentle instruction on how to get back in the saddle.

In some instances, the program may give away bike helmets. It has also made deals with a few bicycle shops to sell helmets at a 10 percent discount.

Though some have pointed out the false sense of security that helmets may give riders and drivers, protecting your head is widely acknowledged as helping to reduce traumatic brain injuries. Indego is gathering additional data on bicycle crashes to guide its helmet policy. That information could be released later this month.

There are 60 Indego bike docks, stretching from Berks Street near Temple University to Tasker Street in South Philadelphia, and from 45th Street in West Philadelphia to Dock Street at the Delaware River's edge. Most bike docks are concentrated in Center City. More should be located in the city's other neighborhoods, especially near parks, including those with other bike-rental vendors.

The pricing to borrow a bike from Indego seems to be working. For $15 a month, riders can get unlimited usage, but it's not simple. The $15 gets you an hour, but you have to return the bike to a docking station hourly and wait two minutes before checking it out again at no additional cost. That's awfully complicated. Bikers may also pay by the hour, with or without a membership.

The program is subsidized by a five-year, $8.5 million grant from its sponsor, Independence Blue Cross, and almost that much from government and foundation sources. That's money well spent. Bike-sharing has blossomed in the United States since about 2010, with programs now in about 30 cities. The concept is much older in Europe, where Paris began a program a decade ago. As more emphasis is placed on reducing city traffic and pollution, bike-sharing is a credible alternative.