Bike Share Explained

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Andrea Bernstein, director of the public radio Transportation Nation project and senior correspondent for WNYC, explains NYC's bike share program, due to launch later this summer.


Andrea Bernstein

Comments [63]

art525 from Park Slope

Why in the world do we need more flexible laws when you don't even follow the existing ones as you yourself have acknowledged here. And Tony, my whole point is that bikers are the ones who feel like they own the road. My who point is that it is bikers who have a huge sense of entitlement. For instance what if everyone followed your practice of deciding which laws we think are practical to obey. Complete chaos. We have rules line stopping for red lights for a reason. It's unfortunate that police don't bother enforcing them.

May. 20 2012 07:42 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

Art: I didn't ask if I am more dangerous. I asked what makes you more entitled to the roads than myself?

May. 17 2012 12:25 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

Im not criticizing jaywalkers, I'm just pointing out they are not as entitled to the road as they think they are.

Pedestrians must obey the laws at crosswalks. They must yield to vehicles outside of the crosswalk. If they are doing anything else, the vehicles should make all reasonable attempts to avoid the pedestrian but that's not the same thing as pedestrians have the right of way. For every anecdote you can give me of a near collision with a cyclist running a light, I can offer a similar story of a careless pedestrian blindly stepping in front of a cyclist who has the right of way.

Can we agree that there needs to be more awareness and consideration by everyone and not just the other party?

I usually stop at red lights, especially when there are pedestrians around. Other times, I choose to use it as a yield sign,
Would it be more acceptable if I stopped at a red light, dismounted, then jaywalked with my bike with the rest of the pedestrians, only to remount on the other side and continue on my way?

In the case of the truck driver and the cyclist at night, the cyclist was in the right.

May. 16 2012 11:56 PM
Matthew Miles

Art525- The real point I am trying to make is that the rules for moving around in the city need to be flexible to accommodate various modes of movement. And furthermore, people and their attitudes need to be flexible, too. By the way, the pedestrian in a hurry to catch a bus that knocked over a slightly disabled person I know - who was walking too slow - and caused physical injury is indeed an example of how a pedestrian can be dangerous to other pedestrians. This same disabled person struggles everyday against the ever present grumbling pedestrian to avoid being run over. So yes, I am making that argument. Again, common sense, and decency would go a long way to resolving the problems we all have....

May. 16 2012 05:14 PM
art525 from Park Slope

Oh and Tony you can't very well criticize jaywalking pedestrians when you feel that you can choose when to stop for red lights. ANd on another note- yes you are more dangerous riding a bike than being a pedestrian.

May. 16 2012 12:17 PM
art525 from Park Slope

Tony from Brooklyn- even if a pedestrian is crossing against the light you still have to yeild to him. And by the way, Transportation Alternatives have had rallies demanding criminal charges for drivers who hit bikers who went through red lights. There was a big demonstration for a biker killed by Atlantic Yards even though a surviellance camera showed he ran the light. Also a biker who was killed passing a large truck on the right late at night.

May. 16 2012 12:15 PM
Rob from the 'burbs from Westchester

This is going to make my life A LOT better! When I reach GCT, I often have to get to the far east or west sides. Buses don't get me there quickly or easily. BikeShare will enable me to get there. (I used the Bixi BikeShare in Montreal, and it was liberating!)

Please please please: create more protected bike lanes for us. Once I dock the bike, I'm going to be a pedestrian, and streets with bike lanes are much safer for everyone -- pedestrians, bikes, and drivers. And protected bike lanes make bike riding more "predictable".

May. 16 2012 11:29 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

From (to dispel the notion that pedestrians are ENTITLED to the benefit of the doubt everywhere).

Which traffic laws apply to pedestrians?

Pedestrians must obey traffic control signals, signs and pavement markings when they are crossing a street [Section 1150, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law].

Pedestrians are not allowed on expressways or interstate highways.

What is the law regarding crosswalks?

When there is no traffic control signal, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, particularly if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, or there is potential danger to the pedestrian [Section 1151, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law].

In addition, every driver approaching an intersection or crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian accompanied by a guide dog or a cane [Section 1153-c, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law].

What if there isn't a crosswalk?

If there isn't a crosswalk, sign or signal at mid-block locations, a pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway [Section 1152, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law].

What about sidewalks?

The driver of a vehicle, when entering or exiting from an alleyway, building, private road or driveway must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk [Section 1151-a, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law].

Pedestrians are required to use sidewalks where they are provided and safe to use. When sidewalks are not provided, a pedestrian is required to walk on the left side of the roadway facing traffic [Section 1156-b, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law].

May. 16 2012 10:53 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

I've been cycling in the city since I was 12. I will admit it. I run lights. Frankly, it's safer to be on the other side of the street with less traffic and I see it as no worse than jaywalking. BUT I cross respectfully and carefully. I wait behind the crosswalk with one foot on the floor and pass from behind when the pedestrians have passed. I use my bell frequently, one of two short rings to give people an audio clue of my approach but honestly nobody ever looks up until I scream out to them. Am I entitled? Why would cyclist be any less entitled to use of the city streets than anyone else including pedestrians? Speaking for myself, I follow more rules than most other pedestrians as well as I'm more courteous than most other pedestrians. And finally orrect me if I'm wrong but pedestrians only have the right of way when they are following the rules of the road AND are in the crosswalk. By the way, helmets are not a legal requirement but lights and bells are.

May. 16 2012 10:35 AM
art525 from Park Slope

No ileen, the laws are that you must always yield to pedestrians. Even if the pedestrians are jaywalking. I know that many bikers think their responsilbity extends as far as ringing a bell but no you have to yield. And that brings up another issue- bikes should be licensed with clearly visible license plates so that if they do run red lights or hit someone and take off they can be tracked. You want rights, with them come responsiblities.
I witnessed a foot patrol cop signal a biker who ran a red light to stop and he kept going and there was nothing the cop could do.

May. 16 2012 10:25 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Michael Miles- Traffic laws universally categorize bikes as vehicles. They always have. But typically as a biker you want to change the laws to suit your own narrow interests. A bicycle is in fact quite dangerous as we have seen by numerous pedestrians (5) gravely injured by bikers here in Prospect Park last summer. Tow were in comas and alll spent prolonged time hospitalized. And as to your argument that pedestrians are dangerous to other pedestrians? Really? Are you really going to make that argument? Please. What nonsense. How about some evidence. And on a final note I do agree that children shouldn't be allowed to ride on the sidewalk. If it is not a safe situation to ride somewhere other than the sidewalk one should not ride. A guy rode his bike down the middle of the sidewalk at me last week and I told him to get off the sidewalk. He said he couldn't ride in the street because he was threatened by buses. SO he feels threatened by buses and therefore he can threaten pedestrians on the sidewalk? That is unfortunately the attitude of too many bikers. It is really all about them and what they want, everyone else be damned.

May. 16 2012 10:18 AM
Brendon Troy from Upper West Side

With respect to Ms. Bernstein's knowledge, I cannot believe that there will really be a $1,000 hold on your credit card with these. I would imagine that it would work like Washington, DC's service, wherein a smaller hold is placed on your card if you purchase a short-term membership ($101 for day- and week-passes, no hold for 30-day or annual memberships). See for details of their system. I wanted to comment because I can see that being a turn-off (if not prohibitive) for many prospective users.

May. 15 2012 07:01 PM
Matthew Miles

Hey Art525,
I am trying to suggest that there is a very discernible difference between vehicles (powered by an engine, and with weights exceeding 2000 pounds) and pedestrians. And, I believe that by definition, a bicycle is neither, and therefore require rules that apply specifically to them.

Let me ask you this - at what point does a bicycle become a vehicle? Why isn't a child on a bicycle deemed a vehicle (as rules- laws - suggest that up to age twelve it is okay to ride a bike on the sidewalk). Many pedestrians are equally dangerous to other pedestrians, but we are not arguing for pedestrian policing, are we? Why not? Critical mass....

May. 15 2012 05:37 PM

@art525 - pedestrians always have the right of way IF they are obeying lights. If they are crossing against the light, the cyclist has the right of way if his/her light is green.

I was so convinced there would be a stand on the corner nearest my office (42nd/3rd), but there's not. And so far no word on when my upper Manhattan neighborhood will get stands, so I'll let the kinks get worked out first before I have to worry about changing my commuting habits.

May. 15 2012 03:07 PM
Matthew Miles

Ruth From Brooklyn, regarding your assumption to my behavior (swerving to avoid pedestrians): no, actually, I am swerving to miss pedestrians who walk in the street to avoid other pedestrians, or who walk in bike lanes, or who step off the sidewalk before looking, or who step between parked cars into the street to hail cabs, and (most annoyingly) those who stand in the street at corners to either hail a cab, or to dash across the street before being given a "Walk" signal.

I admit it, I wear a helmet, have a whistle and bell, and lights....

I also admit that, after yielding to pedestrians, I run red lights if the way is clear, and free of moving vehicles- like so many other pedestrians do. Hence my comment that there is the need for hybrid rules. Education is a key, but so is common sense and consideration for others - which seems to go missing when crowds (3 or more people) are present.

May. 15 2012 01:43 PM
art525 from Park Slope

MATTHEW MILES- where do you get this stuff from? Bikers are indeed vehicles. AND they are subject to the same rules that apply to cars. It's the law. Oh and another thing you might make note of- pedestrains ALWAYS have the right of way. That's the law too. Though you seem to see them as obstacles to your commute.

May. 15 2012 01:33 PM
art525 from Park Slope

Sorry Peter but here in Park Slope it is almost entirely Transportation Alternatives type bikers. People who are giving us a better cleaner world. Or at least they tink so. Young guys with back packs. A lot of hipsters. I could almost excuse the delivery men because they have to hustle, they are trying to make a living. The others just have a large sense of entitlement.

May. 15 2012 01:29 PM
Peter from Manhattan

@art525 from Park Slope --- I didn't mean to blame anyone; the delivery bikers behave the way they do because they are under terrible pressure. And you have a point, the spandex brigade can be a major annoyance, at least on the Hudson River Greenway and in Central Park. Still, my core observation remains: The bikers who give biking a bad name, who blast through red lights, ride on sidewalks, and ride the wrong way in bike lanes, are predominantly delivery guys. If that's ugly, then reality is ugly. Let's focus on the positive side: My hope is that the bike share program will put a lot of respectful, law-abiding bike commuters on the road, to everybody's benefit.

May. 15 2012 12:41 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

Sounds expensive to me and probably dangerous too. Would be interesting to see how much the emergency room visits spike up. Might be a good time to be an accident lawyer....

May. 15 2012 12:12 PM
Rich Entitled Suburbanite from Joysey

Q: Where does an 8 ton H2 park?
A: Anywhere it wants.

I don't care where they put these things. There's nothing I can't flatten. If you happen to be riding one of these bikeshare things at the time, then well... you shoulda got a job in finance like me so you could afford an H2 and a big house in the 'burbs.

Natural selection, baby.

May. 15 2012 12:01 PM

It's like an unlimited metro card, 95$ gets you an unlimited number of 45 minute rides for a year. You just have to dock the bike before 45 minutes is up and no additional charges. 45 minutes is generous compared to other cities.

Think of it like a cab. You do not take a cab to Albany. it would be too expensive. Cabs are for short rides across town. Bike share is for short rides where the subway is not convenient. For example, from WTC to the Seaport. From lower Manhattan to Chinatown.

May. 15 2012 12:00 PM
Stella from The old neighborhood...

I just read some of the other comments - Brian, you should sponsor a panel of diverse New Yorkers, bike riders and pedestrian, instead of segments that sell the TA agenda. PS> I rode a bike in NYC for over 20 years, until I was hit (head-on) by a rogue cyclist...

May. 15 2012 11:58 AM
art525 from Park Slope

@peter from manhattan- I think that's pretty ugly to lay the blame ont he bike deliery men. No while they are guilty of it, it is just as likely, if not more so that it is young people in their expensive biking gear who are riding with no regard for pedestrians. Bikers do tend to try to deflect the blame to everyone but themselves. Besides delivery men the next one to point fingers at is pedestrians. I don't know how many times I have been in the middle of a herd of pedestrians riding trhough a red light and weaving through the crowd of pedestrians and if you yell at them they resond with that curse that ends in you. There is such a disregard for pedestrains and the law. I am tired of hearing the denial and the refusal to take responsiblity.

May. 15 2012 11:57 AM
ann from Manhattan

Where's a pic of a sidewalk-location bike station? What I've seen looks very big. Sounds pedestrian unfriendly to me. Who's going to keep bikers off the sidewalks, where they often ride sometimes sheepishly, sometimes aggressively?

May. 15 2012 11:54 AM
JS from NYC

Has anyone commented on the fact that we're about to be inundated with the Citibank logo? There's a bike share site planned for just outside my apartment in a small public (vest pocket) park. I'm keeping an open mind about this grand transit experiment, but not thrilled with having corporate logos in a public park.

May. 15 2012 11:52 AM
Angela Muriel from Manhattan

I am a biker as well and have been riding a bike in NYC since I was a kid.
I don't use it for commuting but for pleasure rides or to get around when I'm off work. I am however a very courteous rider, yielding to pedestrians often, riding with traffic, stopping at light before crossing, etc.
I do see many bikers doing totally unpredictable and dangerous things.
On the Greenway along the Hudson, I see so many bikers not allowing people to cross, passing other bikers on the right side, weaving in and out, etc.
All of the crashes or mild accidents I've been involved in has been the fault of another biker doing something really stupid. We should learn to be considerate and learn the traffic rules.

May. 15 2012 11:51 AM
Ruth from Brooklyn

Matthew Miles, I'm assuming you have to swerve out of the way, because you are crossing red lights on your bike. Admit it... if you are swerving out of the way or brake for pedestrians when you have right of way, then you are doing nothing different that what drivers have to do when driving in NY. seriously, I am tired of seeing bicyclists not wearing helmets, not signaling for turns, and riding in the wrong direction, riding on the sidewalk... the list continues. I am impressed by bikers who do do these things, because they are scarcities.

May. 15 2012 11:51 AM
Leo from queens

Hi Andrea. We really need to revisit the rules and laws of behaviour where ALL - Pedestrian, Cars, bikes - need to coexist and ensure that each group OBEYS their own laws.

Andrea: the problem is not that people are not used to bikes. I have seen in midtown a messanger coming down at about 50 miles per hour in the opposite direction and skid a woman's legs where the stockings were zinged on her legs. She was lucky she was not hit on..

I also see pedestrians disobeying the WALK/DONT WALK Signs and just walking on slowly onto oncoming traffic thus causing delays in traffic. and also people intentionally opening themselves up to get killed.

AND WHILE I"M ON IT. : WHAT's with people throwing THEIR KIDS ON BABY CARRIAGES on to the street - Waiting see what hits or flies in the air and then stepping down to the curve. This past weekend a woman on Lexington Ave throws her baby and carriage onto oncoming traffic when the DONT WALK SIGN WAS ON and traffic was coming up from the previous light. - when she saw that cars were coming at about 30 miles per hour she then pulled the carriage in to the curve.. and what's amazing is that it does not matter the neighborhood, race or social status - Mothers and fathers have no qualms WHATSOEVER to test traffic with their baby carriages and their kids in them!!!!!

May. 15 2012 11:48 AM
Stella from Gotham City

This program is going to be a "game changer" for pedestrians: especially the elderly and the disabled. We don't need more uneducated, unlicensed rogue riders (who are a danger to themselves and motorists, as well as pedestrians). I know a four-year old whose leg was broken as she and her mother stepped off a curb - with the light - and she was hit by a rogue rider who knocked her down and kept going. I'm just sick at the way the media is glossing over the problems presented by the new bike culture/economy.

May. 15 2012 11:48 AM
Peter from Manhattan

About cyclists disobeying the rules of the road: I think we need to make a distinction between mild-mannered bicycle commuters and out-of-control delivery bikers. The bike share program will put more bike commuters on the road, and those will, by and large, be a law-abiding lot. I expect that this will improve the overall acceptance of biking.

May. 15 2012 11:46 AM

I recently started biking and am astonished at how many riders violate the bike rules --or just exhibit poor judgement (Lehrer and his guest's apologizing notwithstanding). I routinely stop at red lights only to have other bikers dash by me.

One problem in Central Park is that bike rules (riding in one direction, etc.) are not posted ANYWHERE that I can see. All rental bikes (municipal and commercial) should come with bike rules in multiple languages.

On the upside, perhaps this will lead to ALL people on the streets (bikers, pedestrians, drivers) reorienting towards more of a "sharing" mindset.

August will be very interesting.

May. 15 2012 11:46 AM
steve from Manhattan

This will be wonderful, in theory, but if we don't educate the public to respect biking, all the bike lanes in the world won't help. As a daily and avid biker, I know that cars are not my main concern -- pedestrians are, and especially those with cell phones... While bikers can be instructed as to the rules of the road, and hopefully will obey the laws while riding, pedestrians often tend to walk in a clueless and reckless manner, or worse, in an entitled manner, right in the middle of the bike lanes which they view as their own personal alternative to the sidewalks.

May. 15 2012 11:45 AM
sp from nyc

As a senior pedestrian with an elderly dog, I am CONSTANTLY terrorized by bikes on the sidewalks, running red lights, and going the wrong way. They are arrogant, rude, and dangerous to man and beast.

May. 15 2012 11:45 AM

this sounds like a great business opportunity for any helmet and bike equipment sellers. is it a republican ploy to help the business world and create jobs???

May. 15 2012 11:45 AM

Regarding Bicyclists who are dangerous to pedestrians: as a bike commuter, I would say that the biggest threat to me are PEDESTRIANS who mindlessly step into the street. Having to swerve to avoid walkers constantly place me direct line with vehicles.

I would like to suggest that cyclists are neither vehicles, nor pedestrians, although there are times when a cyclist is more one than the other, and vice-versa. Rules specific to bike riders should accommodate the actions of both....

May. 15 2012 11:44 AM
carolita from nyc

Theres something I haven't heard mentioned yet, and that's education in bike etiquette: people need to learn to use bells! A lot of people are afraid to use their bells -- I've been hit by a bike coming up from behind me, not expecting me to make a turn (on foot). Both of us were badly bruised.
I ask bikers why they don't use bells and they say things like, "people get annoyed."

We need a bell-ringing etiquette campaign. Bells are not like horns, telling you to get out of the way. They're to be used to let someone know there's a bike nearby, so they know not to turn suddenly, or stop, or whatever. It's polite, not annoying.

May. 15 2012 11:44 AM
Listener from NYC

No, Andrea, we pedestrians are used to bikes here in the city. As Brian refers to, we're used to them being unpredictable.

May. 15 2012 11:44 AM
Jeff from New York

$1000 credit card charge and $30-$50 for a few hours? Great. Pretty much ensures no low or moderate income New Yorkers will be using these bikes.

May. 15 2012 11:43 AM
yaknow from yaknowistan

I mean, like, ya know, bikes are, you know, these, like, two-wheeled, I mean, you know, vehicles, you know?

May. 15 2012 11:43 AM
Hal from Crown Heights

I'm a cyclist. Let's be honest. The cyclist that obeys traffic rules is the exception.

May. 15 2012 11:43 AM
Ruth from Brooklyn

They said just a few bicyclists don't stop at red lights? Ha!!! We are talking about NYC bicyclists. I would say about 50% of those people don't stop at red lights, even in proper bike lanes.

May. 15 2012 11:43 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

Judy - don't count on it.

May. 15 2012 11:43 AM

Just because there is a perceived fear of cyclists hitting pedestrians, doesn't mean it's well-founded. People should still be more worried about cars.

May. 15 2012 11:43 AM
art525 from Park Slope

No most bikers DO NOT follow the rules. That is nonsense. Absolutely not true.

May. 15 2012 11:43 AM
b from BK

what about flat tires?

who pays

May. 15 2012 11:42 AM
Judy from Manhattan

Here's hoping those bikers watch out for pedestrians and follow the traffic rules.

May. 15 2012 11:42 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

"That's probably true of some"? Come on! It's the majority.

May. 15 2012 11:41 AM

What happened to good ol' fashioned walking??

May. 15 2012 11:41 AM
The Truth from Becky

$1000.00 hold on your credit nice.

May. 15 2012 11:41 AM
Ruth from Brooklyn

I do hope there is better bike safety as a result, but also how about cyclists start observing red lights and traffic laws?!

May. 15 2012 11:41 AM
john from office

This sounds like such a liberal, elitist idea. This may not work in this City. But, lets see.

May. 15 2012 11:40 AM
FRank from Glendale

Andrea, What do you mean there's no subway service to Greenpoint?

Ever heard of the G train????

May. 15 2012 11:40 AM
b from BK

Please take note of the bike desert in the Hasidic section Williamsburg!

May. 15 2012 11:40 AM
Hal from Crown Heights

I bike recreationally. As bike use increases, I am more and more astonished by the number of fellow cyclists that appear to be unaware that cyclists are subject to all the traffic law that apply to motorists.
QUESTION: How will the new riders be informed of this requirement, and how will those without drivers' licenses be educated in traffic regulations?

May. 15 2012 11:40 AM
Mike In Brooklyn from Clinton Hill

And to ensure that the city will make a ton of money from this program, let's strategically position police to hand out traffic tickets. Not only will the user exceed the usage limit, but the city will make a whopping $250 plus from the ticket. Got to love it.

May. 15 2012 11:40 AM
art525 from Park Slope

If you find it annoying dodging red light running bikers now just wait. Will there be increased police enforcement? Of course not.

May. 15 2012 11:40 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

Does this mean that NYC is going to become even more treacherous for pedestrians? I remember a time when you only had to look one way when crossing a one-way street. Now if you do that, you run the risk of being mown down by a biker going the wrong way. It's happened to me any number of times.

May. 15 2012 11:39 AM
RheaGray from Forest Hills, NY

Does Queens exist? (according to the bike share program). Or no?

May. 15 2012 11:39 AM
FranciL from Roosevelt Island

Bike Share snubbed Roosevelt Island, a gorgeous place to ride around and then head to Long Island City. Even though the bikes aren't strictly for tourists, the program could rake in the bucks from this group on these shorter, one-day memberships and hourly fees.
I hope the program expands to our little gem on the East Side.

May. 15 2012 11:39 AM
Judith from Brooklyn

$1,000 hold on your credit card? So this is a service for rich people only.

May. 15 2012 11:39 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Is that 45 free minutes per day? Per ride? Just once?

May. 15 2012 11:38 AM
DL from Queens

What is the city's position on bike helmets? BYO-BH? Will there be an opportunity to rent those as well?

May. 15 2012 11:37 AM
Tom from UWS

Is that ONE 45-minute use per day, or two (a round trip) or several 45-minute trips ...

May. 15 2012 11:37 AM

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