Bike Share Coming to NYC

Friday, September 16, 2011

WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog, Andrea Bernstein, talks about the launch of the city's first bike share program and how it will work.

Suggest a spot for a rental station on the NYC DOT map.


Andrea Bernstein

Comments [41]


thatgirl from manhattan --Thnx much for the background info. I knew Trek when it was a Madison WI bike manufacturer and it's been awhile since I'd been following them. Appreciate your response.

Sep. 16 2011 03:20 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

perhaps it would have been more effective to get someone more familiar with the program or subcontractor to talk about how this would work, but like other lehrer show segments, five minutes is hardly enough to get that across, vet audience questions.

Sep. 16 2011 02:26 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

stella - but you are painting all riders with the same brush. you probably wouldn't be doing so if you didn't have an accident with a fellow rider, but where's your responsibility in it? we're not all wrapped in spandex, pedaling ultra-light road bikes, just trying to get our workout on. a lot of us simply use bikes daily to function. we follow the rules, and take responsibility for everyone's safety.

moreover, you leave out the other variables: underqualified drivers who believe they should be guaranteed free and convenient parking on an island, pedestrians who walk while texting, or with headphones, such that they know nothing of what's around them. how about taxis and trucks who use the delivery lanes to drop off people and merchandise, unpoliced?

you've answered your own question: it's not just the riders--it's the very construct of our streets, which iris weinshall helped promote for faster car travel in her role as commish for the DOT. at the very least, commissioner sadik-khan has tried to even up the playing field for pedestrians and cyclists against motorized traffic. but it's everyone's responsibility to create a safe environment--including yours.

so much unwarranted hysteria here.

Sep. 16 2011 11:51 AM
Stella from LES

Apologies for my late comment. I rode a bike in Manhattan for years until I was hit by another cyclist. I wasn't severely injured, but I was traumatized (he was riding went on an east-bound street, into uptown traffic on 1st avenue, against the light, and hit me head-on). What NY needs are educated and licensed bike riders, not more bikes. Crossing 1st Avenue and 17th Street between 8 am and 9 am (to give an example) is a nightmare: cyclists run red lights, don't stay in the bike lines, ride against not with the traffic, make illegal turns and race one another. I don't want to tar all riders with the same brush, but there are riders whose utter disdain for pedestrians (you wouldn't believe what calling out "Red light" elicits from some of these rouge riders) makes the city streets dangerous (for themselves, drivers and pedestrians alike). Let's get real!

A question: why isn't Transportation Alternatives an advocate for all New Yorkers? What gives?

Sep. 16 2011 11:25 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

jawbone - trek is barely an "american company" any more. their bikes have been manufactured in asia for a very long time. alta, an american company from portland, OR, will operate it.

sandra - without repeating your self-righteous tone, explain how you learned to ride a bicycle, please. otherwise, like driving a car, riding a bike is completely voluntary choice, and there are more programs in nyc than transalt's from which to learn city riding. a number of orgs offer lessons and guided rides to learn.

Sep. 16 2011 11:22 AM
Cato from East Side Manhattan

I support in concept more bikes. But this will mean more bike riders and bike riders have to do their part and lose the "outlaw" mentality. Too many bike riders now do not feel in any way obligated to follow the laws. When a bike rider almost hits me, if I say anything there is a "no blood, no foul" attitude and "what's your problem." On the other hand, if they actually hit me, they seem mystified as say, "but it was an accident," when I try to point out that they are not supposed to ride on the sidewalk, or ride against traffic, or run red lights, they repeat, "but it was an accident," as if they cannot understand the relationship between their behavior and the outcome. It's a rare exception to acually see a bike rider stop at a red light.

Sep. 16 2011 11:11 AM

I'm becoming concerned about the wanton misuse of the word "mayhem." It's bad enough when a major insurance company uses the work in its ads so cavalierly, but now WNYC reporters/hosts are tossing it around willynilly?

may·hem --noun /ˈmāˌhem/ 

1.Violent or damaging disorder; chaos
- complete mayhem broke out

2.The crime of maliciously injuring or maiming someone, originally so as to render the victim defenseless

(Well, the second definition might fit, sort of, that insurance company, when it refuses to pay claims adequately....)

The connotation of the word involves massive disorder or malicious violence, with the added weight of motive. Wind storms lack that kind of intent, which is why I cringe at the insurance company's usage. The same for auto accidents: some are done with intent, but very, very, very few.

So, what's with talking about more bicylists causing "mayhem" on NYC streets???

Sep. 16 2011 11:06 AM
Erika from Brooklyn

Until bikers in NYC are willing to follow the traffic laws, I think it is dangerous to encourage more riders.

Sep. 16 2011 11:01 AM
el from Manhattan

As an Emergency Physician working in a level 1 trauma center in mid-town Manhattan, I am completely unsatisfied and frankly appalled that the guest would suggest that the increased safety of the bike means that there is less need for a helmet. Bicyclists struck by cars often have devastating injuries. Implying that it is even marginally okay to ride without a helmet while biking in Manhattan in a public forum like this is very irresponsible. I guess I should be grateful for the increased business this new bike share program will be sending me.

Sep. 16 2011 11:00 AM
Rod from NYC

Are helmets provided? Is there any liability to the city if someone borrows a bike and is severely injured without the helmet?

Sep. 16 2011 10:59 AM
Ed from Maplewood NJ

The docking station idea seems complicated, expensive and adding excessive infrastructure to a already crowded street scene. I lived in Munich Germany where the bike program allowed you to leave the bike anywhere. Once you got off and pushed a button your time was up and the bike was freed for the next user. most users went to common spots so an efficient the turnover. the system used a GPS system for tracking. seems a lore efficient way to handle.

Sep. 16 2011 10:59 AM
Sebs from Montreal/New York

I moved to Montréal from New York.
I use Bixi every day from April to November to go the half-mile from my apartment to the subway station.
I can't fit a bike in my apartment, but there's a station right outside my building and right outside my métro station.

Sep. 16 2011 10:58 AM
Robert Plautz from Manhattan

If you only need a bike to run a quick errand, or visit someplace for, say, 10 minutes or so, will it be possible to pick-up a bike from a rack, go to your destination, and while doing your thing leave the bike on the street (hopefully with a lock) and then get back on the bike and return it to the same rack you took it from?

Sep. 16 2011 10:58 AM

Nick - a class is great a idea - if people take it.

The new campaign to encourage bike rider to stay off the side walk and follow traffic law is ridiculous. Riders are supposed to be follow the law so other people won't think they are a jerk. The laws need to be enforced. Social pressure is not the answer.

Sep. 16 2011 10:58 AM
Stephen from Manhattan

Just what pedestrians need. More bikes on the streets and 'New York's Finest' STILL do not enforce existing traffic laws. ... I suggest bicycle proponents take a ten minute walk and count the number of bicyclists who 1) ignore red lights, 2) ride in the opposite direction of traffic, 3) ignore the bike lanes, and 4) ride on the sidewalk.

Bicyclists should be licensed and license plates required on bikes. Three traffic law violations and both should be revoked and the bike confiscated.

Sep. 16 2011 10:58 AM

I used the Bixis in Montreal. Fantastic! There were stations everywhere. Perfect for sightseeing on a budget- hop on/hop off.

Sep. 16 2011 10:56 AM
Benjamn Kaplan from Manhattan

Why not provide disposable sanitary hair caps and a helmet with each bike?

Sep. 16 2011 10:56 AM

As noted, this bike share is NOT aimed at the poor.

My questions:
1) Is the chosen vendor an American company? Who manufactures the bikes?

2) Why wasn't the Trek (American company) company chosen? And, are the bikes used by Trek manufactured by Trek?

Curious. And a bit concerned.

Sep. 16 2011 10:55 AM
Joe from Park Slope

Since people come in different sizes will the bikes be adjustable to fit the different riders?

Sep. 16 2011 10:52 AM

As a longtime NYC cyclist and bike-commuting proponent, I'm excited about the prospect of more bikes in and around the five boroughs. That said, I'm surprised at the complete dearth of city-supported cycling education! Most people do not know how to PROPERLY - LAWFULLY - ride a bike, nevermind doing so in an urban environment. You would not offer a car to an unlicensed driver. And while I'm NOT recommending a licensing program I would like to see the city step in and offer SOME sort of education to both cyclists AND drivers. The programs offered by Transportation Alternatives are only so far-reaching.

Sep. 16 2011 10:52 AM
Anthony from BKLYN

As a long time bike rider, and having used bike share in other cities, I'm excited about this, but also scared. NYC is possibly one of the most dangerous places I've ever ridden a bike and there are already people on bicycles out in the roads that really shouldn't be riding for their own safety. You need to respect the situation you are in, and tourists biking down 5th ave looking at the Empire State Building while crossing 34th street sounds like a bad idea.

Sep. 16 2011 10:52 AM
RJ from prospect hts

So as usual, one must have $ to be healthy--like higher-cost metro cards, good-quality food, one must pay more to, essentially, save or be healthy. What exactly are my taxes paying for besides war? Surely not mass transit, subsidies for local, healthy food producers, etc. Sigh.

Sep. 16 2011 10:51 AM
Judy Young from Union Square

What about folks who would be hesitant to ride w/o helmets?

Sep. 16 2011 10:51 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Question: What provision will be made to CLEAN the bikes (and helmets?) between uses? I am concerned about the transfer of bedbugs, which can be carried on riders' clothing.

Sep. 16 2011 10:51 AM
Greg from Toronto from toronto

I've used them in London England,
Great easy way to get around the city, cheaper than the "tube" and a fun way to see the city. Yeh New York!

Sep. 16 2011 10:50 AM
Ellen from Brooklyn

I think Allen's comment below should not be dismissed lightly - anyone sharing the road with car, buses and trucks should wear a helmet, and yet I have not heard about helmets in connection with this plan. Is there a provision to rent those as well?

Sep. 16 2011 10:50 AM
Jennifer from Brooklyn

I used this system in Paris, which was wonderful except for one major problem: some stations are much more popular than others. I was with my mother and we biked back to the Marais district where we were staying, and spent 2 hours going from one bike station to another trying to find a slot to put our bikes in. No luck. Had to bike back to the Louvre! How will NYC address this?

Sep. 16 2011 10:50 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Bike share is a great idea. I've seen it in Denmark and Montreal and it's a great thing. I saw it in Copenhagen first and was amazed that the bikes aren't all stolen and/or vandalized.

What I worry about in implementing it in NYC is that biking culture is different here. In Copenhagen and Montreal bikers obeyed the traffic laws (gasp!) which is not the case here. Plus bikes are stolen left and right here....will this work with NYC culture being the way it is? I hope so, but I wonder...

Sep. 16 2011 10:50 AM
Nick Goddard from Brooklyn Heights

Hi Tim--I believe that they are phasing the program in over a few years. See zone map here:

They're aware of the need, it is just tough to get someone to sign-off on a huge rollout from Day 1.

Sep. 16 2011 10:49 AM
Jamison from Fort Green

Do they give you a helmet too?
Makes me sick to see how many people ride with out a helmet. (most of the time hipster girls, god forbid they mess up there 80s hair)
I was a sponsored mt biker back in the day and have see some bad stuff happen to people with and with out helmets.

Sep. 16 2011 10:49 AM

Has anyone yet investigated a possible profit interest/campaign contribution link between the toll hike and the bike share program and/or EZ-pass (consider the difference between the amount of the hike versus cash)?

My suspicion: those with a profit interest in the bike share and/or EZ-pass are behind the severity of the toll hikes.

Sep. 16 2011 10:48 AM
anna from Manhattan

Pls talk about the CONGESTION that exists already in the bike lanes. What will happen when the sharing program takes off??
thank you

Sep. 16 2011 10:47 AM

Why are the bikes going to go only up to 79th Street? It should extend at least to 96th Street, especially on the the Upper West Side, with its wide streets, existing bike lanes, access to both Central Park and the Hudson River bike path, and many young people (including Columbia University) in the neighborhood who frequently ride to Midtown and beyond.

Sep. 16 2011 10:47 AM
Jeff from Upper East Side

With the bike share adding 10,000 bikes on the street, what will the city be doing about clearing the bike lanes and making biking safer?

Sep. 16 2011 10:45 AM
Nick Goddard from Brooklyn Heights

Would you guys who don't want a bike share prefer that we add 10,000 hourly rental cars to our streets?

Also, have you ridden a bicycle lately? If not, check out and take a class. You might really enjoy it.

Sep. 16 2011 10:44 AM
Nick Goddard from Brooklyn Heights

Hi Allen, there is only a helmet requirement in NYC for passengers under 5yo and riders under 14yo.

I think that a bike share is a great idea. Yes, there will be more cyclists on the streets, but it will also take some cars off the road, and some people out of the subway.

Riding a bike-share bike a less expensive way to get around than a subway (a year membership will be around $90) and so people can move from a monthly metrocard to a standard metrocard and save money all summer.

The bikes have fenders and baskets, so far as I know, and also have lights. The difficulty of seeing unlit riders is a common complain of anti-bike people in NYC, and this should help address it.

For anyone interested in improving their skills or learning to ride, check out - they offer Learn to Ride classes where people who have never ridden can ride. There are also classes where people can learn to ride in traffic.

Will there be injuries? Sure. But I think it's worth it for all the wonderful experiences people will have, the exercise they will get, and the money they will save, and cities like Paris and Montreal have shown that bike-sharing programs can be a success even with penetration around 1%.

I"m not sure if NYC is expecting it to be a money-making program, but I'm sure it will increase tourism. Right now people have to take tons of taxis and subways to get around--from experience, it's much nicer to hop on a bike and zip around.

-Nick Goddard


Sep. 16 2011 10:42 AM
Don Watterson from upper west side

Paris was the first city to install this program and it works in a city that is not all that bike friendly. If Hurricane Irene had walloped NYC and the subways were closed for more than a day and a half I think there would have been lineups outside of bike stores. My adopted city is on the right track. Ride On
ps. Retail stores that are blaming bike lanes for a drop in business are placing there frustration in the wrong place. I bike all over NYC and see more store closings and mostly on streets without bike lanes.

Sep. 16 2011 10:36 AM
Jay F.

God help us all.

Sep. 16 2011 10:35 AM
Mary from Carroll Gdns. Brooklyn

Just sold my car, bought second-hand bike and tool around my Carroll Gardens n'hood with less frustration, and savings of about $150/month.
Great to see NYC going in same direction.

Sep. 16 2011 10:34 AM

One thing I haven't heard addressed yet is how the Bike Helmet law will be addressed. Will the helmets go with the bikes? Expected to bring your own?

Sep. 16 2011 10:02 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

Golly gee! This is going to be sooo exciting. Tourists on bikes. Madison Ave., 5th, 9th, etc. with buses, tourists on bikes, pedestrians. I can hardly wait!

Sometimes it seems that somebody in New York is giving a free lobotomy with each bike purchase. It can only get worse.

Sep. 16 2011 09:47 AM

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