Friday, April 24, 2009

Cities around the world are trying it. Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, talks about the possibility of introducing a bike-sharing program in New York City.


Paul Steely White

Comments [69]

Mish from NYC

Hi was in barcelona and they have a great program that does this also. You need a biccing card that is attached to your account. The bikes can be returned at any biccing station when you lock it in place it is returned. it is really cool and a great way to get around sort of like zip cars for bikes. There is a great potential to steal bikes hence the need to set up a secure measures, now if people rode bikes and it was part of the culture of NY perhaps there wouldn't be as many thefts. Go to Amsterdam Bikes everywhere and often they are unlocked go figure. It is a great idea now if only they can train the drivers hmmm!!

May. 27 2009 01:20 PM
gcgeez from Barcelona, Spain

It works v well in Barcelona and they introduced it relevatively seemlessly. I believe it is cost neutral to the city -- not as a result of the corporate sponsorship -- but as a result of a fixed % of parking fine revenue being dedicated to the scheme. Clever, huh? And there's no need to wait for corporate sponsorship to return. People are really distracted by the cost argument... whole systems are introduced for the price of a couple of buses. Public hire bikes are in almost constant use and thus do 100s of miles a week and pay for themselves in no time.

Have lived in NYC and think it would work well but you'd need to slow car traffic and reduce space allocated to cars as Paris has done. It's true that behaviour improves when there are more cyclists on the roads and paths which further marginalises the few road-warrior-bike-courier speedster types.

I'm a huge fan of public bike hire schemes as mass transit so they should not be for tourists. The Paris scheme is available to tourists which I think has been kind of cool in promoting public hire schemes for folks who return to their home cities, but not so great for the operation of the scheme for locals who compete for access with the tourist hoardes. Let's face it, if you've enough cash to visit NYC you should have enough to throw a few dollars at a tourist bike operator.

As for Barcelona's dedicated bike lanes referred to in the program they are not really separate barriers. All they have done here is swap the car parking spaces for the bike lanes so that you have sidewalk, then bike lane, then car parking, then car lanes. To prevent cars parking over the lanes, there are rounded, slightly raised bollards every 15 yards or so.

Apr. 25 2009 12:12 PM
Carlos from Weehawken, N.J. from Weehawken, NJ

There was a bike-sharing program on Governors Island last summer and a weeklong trial project that was operated out of a space on Kenmare St and Cleveland Pl in SoHo, And on April 30, 400 orange bikes from the Netherlands will be used in a bike tour and then later will be part of the Summer Streets project:

Apr. 24 2009 03:43 PM
Elise Merrow from West Harlem, Manhattan

For NOW.... our priorities should be;
1)Create MORE and safer, protected bike lanes to encourage cycling in the city.
2)Close Central Park loop to vehicular traffic at ALL times (especially during after school hours so kids can have a safe place to play after school)!!
3)More bike parking AND building codes changed to have safe bike storage rooms in all office an residential buildings!
3)Implement my task force idea (see my previous posts) Add to that a way of ticketing cyclists who endanger pedestrians and other cyclists as well (to be fair!)
4)REQUIRE anyone getting a drivers license now (and ALL taxi and livery cab drivers!!) to cycle in NYC traffic to better understand what its like to BE a cyclist in order to get license.

After these things are done we will be primed to welcome a bike-sharing program!(and will have seen how they figured out their kinks in the system)

Apr. 24 2009 11:25 AM
hjs from 11211

economies of scale!

why should i buy i bike i use a few hours a week? and where should i store my bike, the rest of the time?

Apr. 24 2009 11:24 AM
Henry from Brooklyn

Why can't people buy their own bike?

Why does it always have to be taxation and give things away for "free" for a few Manhattanites in the expense of everyone else.

Apr. 24 2009 11:15 AM
Sholom from Brooklyn

How about a very simple plan.
1. A concession next to the newspaper stand for a bike repair stand.
2. Enough place to park and lock your own bike.

What we do not need is the brand new MBA "metropolitan bike agency" with pensions strikes and a new tax on whatever they have not taxed yet. I certainly do not want to give them any new ideas.

Apr. 24 2009 11:11 AM
Laurie from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

And just so no one thinks I am schilling for Zipcar (I am a reasonably happy Zipcar member, but they are far from perfect), and Hertz Connect could also add a bicycle program to their existing hourly car sharing/short-term rental business.

Apr. 24 2009 11:10 AM
James from DUMBO

Are you kidding me? People are concerned about "inexperienced" cyclists? Come on! What about inexperienced DRIVERS - or, more common, just plain idiot drivers? People drive cars like maniacs! Perfectly reasonable people completely change into aggressive monsters when they get behind the wheel of a car. I think driving should be a privilege and if you abuse it take the license away. You can get hurt by a bike for sure but you're not going to take out a dozen people at 80 mph because you're trying to get on the LIE 5 seconds faster while talking on your cell phone...

Apr. 24 2009 11:06 AM
Elise Merrow from West Hrlem, Manhattan

I rollerblade and cycle everywhere (and follow the rules of the road!!) I would like to see a volunteer citizen task force with permission to report or 'tag' drivers vehicles who flagrantly violate our ability to STAY ALIVE!!!! 3 strikes or 'tags' and a driver would get points (just like a DUI).
Volunteer cyclists/ rolelrbladers or even pedestrians would have to pass or qualify to do this but that would allow US to be more 'eyes on the street' and cops could track down anyone with three tags (here's where the techno part would come in....) which might be invisible ink we could mark a passing car that gets to close or makes a right on red or speeds by to get to a red light coming within inches of our death! Cops would have a device that would spot marks.... you see where this is going?!
As far as leaning as an adult to ride a bike, I teach new cyclists while on my blades holding on from behind. Saves my back and keeps it smooth and safe (and upright!)

Apr. 24 2009 11:05 AM
Jennifer Bartlett from Brooklyn

Hey Jane (comment 24)

YOU CAN DO IT! I learned when I was 39. I have Cerebral palsy and horrible balance. I did it and you can too. No reason to be embarassed. It is the best thing you will ever learned. I learned in front of all my neighbors and they cheered me on!

Cycling World (I think that's the name) on 6th and 15th?
has flier for lessons, as I'm sure many other bike stores do.

Good luck!!!!!!!!!

Apr. 24 2009 11:02 AM
sasha from Bk

Why don't they make a prerecorded announcement that comes on when cab doors are opened that says 'please check for passing bikes!'

Apr. 24 2009 11:01 AM
S Koester from New York, NY

As a daily bike commuter (365 days a year) in Manhattan I am very excited to hear more and more talk of introducing bike sharing programs and increasing bike lanes and bike awareness.

Apr. 24 2009 11:01 AM

FYI: The bike trail from Van Cortlandt Park Brian referred to is probably the former right of way for the New York Central Putnam Division railroad.

Apr. 24 2009 11:01 AM
S Koester from New York, NY

As a daily bike commuter (365 days a year) in Manhattan I am very excited to hear more and more talk of introducing bike sharing programs and increasing bike lanes and bike awareness. Bikes, just like pedestrians, need a safe place to ride! Hopefully, with more and more cyclists on the road, the city will respond positively by continuing to improve cycling infrastructure.

Apr. 24 2009 11:01 AM
David G. Keeton from manhattan

As a life-long bicyclist, I wonder when these bike advocacy groups will encourage vehicle responsibility and respect of applicable traffic laws and pedestrians. Most cyclists I see act as if the rules don't apply to them.

Apr. 24 2009 11:00 AM
Waldo from Manhattan

In Paris (just got back) bikers OBEY the traffic laws -- In NY Bikers think they own the world.
Perhaps with bike lanes the bikers will just smash into each other, going 2 ways on one way streets, ignoring red lights, etc.
I almost got hit yesterday - I was in crosswalk with the light and biker ran the red light he was so close to me that the bike touched my coat. I'm against capital punishment except for bikers who think they're too good for traffic laws.
The idea of more bikes on city streets is really, really scary.

Apr. 24 2009 11:00 AM
RCT from NYC

That bike lane, Brian, goes all the way up to mid-Putnam County along the old Putnam railway line route, which has been paved over for biking. There are small parking lots along the way at which people drop off their cars and pull out their bikes. You should come up and bike upper-Westchester, over the Croton Reservoir, and into Croton. My husband and I are pulling out our bikes this weekend for a ride.

Apr. 24 2009 10:59 AM
jade from ny

Just want to dispel the notion where that it is safer for women on a bike. It isn't. There are countervailing vulnerabilities, in part because of a shift in attn and false sense of security, in part because you can be interfered with in a way meant to distract you and then attacked.) I don't want to suggest that it is more dangerous, but it is NOT safer.

Apr. 24 2009 10:58 AM
yourgo from astoria

i used the bikes in Copenhagen.. they had solid rubber wheels so the city didnt have to deal with flats and they were highly colorful and decorated.
it was very cool.

Apr. 24 2009 10:58 AM
Jimmie from the jerz

There are so many good things in the world that simply wouldn't work in NY due to crime/theft alone. Not saying that it's gonna be the case here, but I have my doubts ...

Apr. 24 2009 10:58 AM
Rich from brooklyn

This is a terrible use of public money in NYC. The vast amount of people in NYC and the surroundings want to use their car and it is offensive that a "vast" minority is trying to impose this system.
Many, many in Paris are very unhappy with the affect on traffic with their bike system.
Let a privite company offers bike government has no role to play in offering bikes.

Apr. 24 2009 10:58 AM
Hex in manhattan from Manhattan

I say this type of program implemented in Ann Arbor years ago. It was called "The Green Bike is unlocked." I'm afraid it didn't last long. The bikes were stolen, locked up, taken apart, and flung off of roofs in acts of mindless destruction. It might work among people with a sense of civic responsibility. But there were just enough people who didn't to ruin the program. Hope you've worked out the kinks.

Apr. 24 2009 10:57 AM
janet from East V illage

Perhaps in tandem with education for car drivers related to the safety of bicyclists it would be a good idea to incorporate mandatory training for cyclists in relation to pedestrian safety. I've lost count of how times every day I am almost hit by a biker, or have to give up my right of way to a biker, who is running a red light going the wrong way on a one-way street and who is looking in the opposite direction for traffic that might hit him with not even a glance toward pedestrians whom he is putting at risk

Apr. 24 2009 10:57 AM
Susy from manhattan

Absolutely-- bicycling responsibly requires a whole skill set that people who aren't used to being on bikes haven't developed...

It can be dangerous to have people on ill-fitting bikes and not knowing what they're doing. For pedestrians, and for other bicyclists.

Apr. 24 2009 10:57 AM
Peter from new york city

As a driver, can I ask: are cyclists required to ride on the side of the street (if not bike lane is there0, instead of in the middle? I love to protect cyclists, but it's difficult to slow down to 3 mph because a cyclist is right in front of you.

Apr. 24 2009 10:56 AM
Neil from Yonkers

We wanted to introduce a bike sharing or 'green' bike program at Sarah Lawrence College, but we know that all the bikes will end up at the station at the bottom of the big hill, because everyone will walk up.

How does Paris address that problem or "one-way use and uneven distribution"? Did the same people who fixed the bikes evenly distribute them around different stations?

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM
Brian from Manhattan

That's all we need is unexperienced bikers in the densest parts of the city. Pedestrians beware!

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM
ak from brooklyn

have biked in paris and amsterdam. the bikers there respect the traffic signals and in fact HAVE dedicated bike traffic lights AT the bike paths. that is what we need here too if cars and bikes and pedestrians are to respect each other. as a nyc biker and driver, it makes me crazy when bikers demand respect on the roads but do not follow traffic rules.

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM
Jasmine from Brooklyn Heights

And just as car drivers need to look out for bikers, bikers need to be aware of walkers! I can't say how many times I've almost been mowed over by a bike zooming by.

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM
Charles Lukoba from Newark, NJ

Will there be a weight limit on who can use the bike? I'm the 'average' size of NYorker & I brake my bike almost everytime I ride it. It's the folding type.

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM
nicole from Park Slope

How is the helmet issue handled. I'm from DC and it seems to work well there, but I wonder whether people are mandated to use helmets and if they do wear them.

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM
Teo from The Netherlands

I live in the Netherlands and have seen and used the system in Paris. A bike share system in New York would have some serious safety issues. I used to bike from park Slope to the Heights to go to high school and it never felt too safe. Here in the Netherlands there is a lot of bike infrastructure, bike lanes, bike traffic signals etc. The city would have to install such things to avoid accidents and liability issues.

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM

If only cyclists in NYC showed the same consideration towards pedestrians that they demand from auto drivers.

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM
Niall heffernan from Sunnyside

Used Velib in Paris and Bicing in Barcelona, last Summer; both are excellent systems. Some observations: Sometimes it was hard to find a space to return a bike in Paris. The Barcelona system benefited from the absence of on street parking and bike boulevards. Paris system was available to tourists while Bicing was only for residents.

Apr. 24 2009 10:55 AM
Janelle from West Village

I live part-time in Barcelona and use their bike-sharing program: BICING. It's terrific. Membership is just 20 Euros per year. Bikes stations throughout city. Very convenient to drop off and pick up. Wonderful to get to know a place on bike--see, hear as you go. Get some exercise. I had a bike in NY for many years but got rid of it recently because i was tired of storing it in my living room! This solves the problem. Not to mention it's quick, inexpensive and green. Only drawback--difficult to keep bikes well maintained Often a bike i pick up in Barcelona has a flat, or no breaks. Though the system allows one to trade it in for another on the spot. NY needs to find a way to do this.

Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
Chris from brooklyn

Maybe cyclists should be required to have a license too. I both bike and drive in the city, and I have to say my awareness of each has been greatly influenced by the other. It's not just drivers who are not paying attention.

Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
Susy from manhattan

I have ridden in the city for a long time. I do not want a separate, curbed lane for bicyclists. The only accident I've ever been in was with another cyclist who didn't know what they were doing.

Wouldn't there be some danger having people not used to biking on these public bicycles? What about a class for them.

reference the biking delivery people going down the streets the wrong way...or running into pedestrians.

Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
Laurie from Cobble Hill, NY

The ideal scenario would be for Zipcar, which already has the infrastructure (i.e. the Zipcard) in place to reserve, check-in and check out the bikes, to add bicycle sharing to their existing car sharing offerings. They could negotiation with the garages (esp here in NYC) to house the bike racks, which would make it more secure than simply having bike racks out in designated street racks. I am a Zipcar member and would LOVE to be able to reserve a bike for a few hours on a nice Saturday (like tomorrow!). Currently there is no place near me to even rent a bike and we simply don't have any room in our apartment, nor a bike room in our building to store a bike if we bought one.

Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
Chris from NYC

Let's start small -- is there any plan to close Park Avenue again this summer for a few weekends? It would be nice to bike down to the union square market early in the a.m.

Also, I really appreciated the relative quiet of the ride -- I have heard if they do it again they plan to move more towards a more carnival-like atmosphere -- Please NO!!

Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
Marcelo from Park Slope

This would be perfect! I ride my own bike to the city often, but many times, when I don't take it with me to the city, I find myself needing it for a short cross town trip. This would be heaven for me!!

Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
annaf from nyc


Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
Jennifer Bartlett from Brooklyn

This is the woman with cerebral palsy. I learned how to ride a 2 wheel bike when I was 39 years old and ride all over Brooklyn. It changed my life. I would use this all the time.

Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
chuck from NJ

I was just in Paris
Velib is very widely used
Everywhere you go, you see folks on them
As a tourist, I was limited by the deposit of E150 per bike, but would have used it more than Metro to get around the city
Seems to have cut down on the number of scooters on the road, maybe a little on the overall traffic
Cabbies and the large size of US cars/trucks would be major drawbacks in NYC

Apr. 24 2009 10:54 AM
Mark from Astoria, Queens

Are there any plans to use parked cars as the barrier from moving traffic? i.e. move the parking lane several feet away from the curb.

Apr. 24 2009 10:53 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

I'm 41 years old and I can't ride a bike. Several friends and my husband tried to teach me over the years, and it didn't work. My husband loves to bike, and I'd like to share it with him.
Is there any place that gives lessons to adults?
It is pretty embarrassing trying to learn biking at my age, but I feel like I'm missing out ..

Apr. 24 2009 10:53 AM
Henry from Brooklyn

What a GREAT idea! Let's find a way to further tax outer boroughs so a few Manhattanites who HAVE THE MONEY to live in Manhattan, but are too CHEAP to buy a bike to get a free bike on "other" people's expenses!

I hate to say this, but all these bikes will come from some where, and most likely it's from people who DO NOT USE the bikes in the first place, and most of these people who do not live in Manhattan.

Apr. 24 2009 10:53 AM
kbinps from park slope

hjs in 11211 wants to be protected from reckless drivers. I want to be protected from reckless bikers on the sidewalks. Any thoughts on that?

Apr. 24 2009 10:53 AM
m from brooklyn

i was just in paris and used the bike system- it seems like a great thing for tourists- but probably less great for commuting - a nice thing for a family that doesn't have room to store a ton of bikes and wants to go out for a weekend ride around their nieghborhood.

Apr. 24 2009 10:52 AM
Jennifer Hickey from Bayside, Queens

Yes, I would absolutely use this. Right now I have to take the LIRR from Northeasr Queens to Penn Station and then the subway downtown to Whitehall Street. Now that they are raising the fares at least I could forego the monthly metro card. Please push hard for this.

Apr. 24 2009 10:52 AM
eva from brooklyn

i LOVE this program in paris. however, we must shift the paradigm here in nyc and make drivers more willing to share the roadways. road-sharing is as important as bike sharing to make this happen. But it is an imperative if we want to think of ourselves as environmentally progressive. NYCers deserve this, and deserve to do it safely.

Apr. 24 2009 10:52 AM
RCT from NYC

Koch tried bike lanes. They became garbage traps -- were very hard to keep clean of rubbish -- and the bikers wouldn't use them because pedestrians blocked the lanes at crosswalks.

Apr. 24 2009 10:51 AM
Lisa from Brooklyn

I spent a month in Paris last summer and the Velib system was awesome. I think the system would work well here, but one of the keys is the bike rider has to follow the traffic laws like cars.

Apr. 24 2009 10:51 AM
Barbara from Greenlawn, NY

A bike share program also exists in Barcelona. We discovered it too late to use it, but bikes seemed to be available near every subway and train station. If we return to Barcelona, we plan to use it.

Apr. 24 2009 10:51 AM
garrett from brooklyn

i did this in was amazing! a great way to get around. very excited about this prospect.

Apr. 24 2009 10:51 AM
hjs from 11211

FYI 11211 = williamsburg!

Apr. 24 2009 10:51 AM
jill from new york

What is the plan for helmets? I would never ride in the streets without one!

Apr. 24 2009 10:51 AM
Mark from Astoria, Queens

This is a great idea! I hope this happens!

Apr. 24 2009 10:51 AM
anonymous from Queens

A lot of bike shops in the city already rent bikes at pretty reasonable rates. Wouldn't competition from a city sponsored program like this affect their bottom line?

Apr. 24 2009 10:50 AM
Glenn from Manhattan

Isn't this great when we can avoid the incompetent NYC Transit Authority, the corrupt Transit Workers Union, and the forthcoming jacked up rates due to these dysfunctions?

Apr. 24 2009 10:50 AM
eva from brooklyn

it is a fabulous program in paris! and it could absolutely take off here once people begin to change their paradigm of transportation. BUT we must have the infrastructure--i am terrified to take my bike into manhattan becuse drivers are not aware, not willing to share the roadway, and bikers NEED their own lanes. road sharing is as important to this ocncept as sharing the actual bikes.

Apr. 24 2009 10:50 AM
Dark Symbolist from NYC

They had this in Denmark and it blew my mind. I thought it was a GREAT idea. It would be great to have that here...but I worry that people would steal them here

Apr. 24 2009 10:49 AM
Petra from tarrytown, ny

My concern with this issue is that bike riding is very dangerous in NYC. Even though I own a bike I will NOT ride it in the city. NYC should look at cities like Munich who have lanes separate from the auto lanes for bikers.

Apr. 24 2009 10:49 AM
Gal from metuchen, nj

As a person that commutes into the city every day, I would LOVE to do have this available. Especially in the summer when the last place I want to be is the subway tunnels.

Apr. 24 2009 10:48 AM
antonio from park slope

Is there any thought of making a bike only pathway? Streets devoted to bikes only?

Apr. 24 2009 10:48 AM
Julie from Brooklyn, NY

I am desperate for the European-style bike system in NYC!

Apr. 24 2009 10:48 AM

How much does it cost to participate in the bike sharing program?

Apr. 24 2009 10:47 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Is everyone gonig to be carrying a helmut? Probably not a good idea to share them--you can get lice that way. And riding in the city without one is really reckless.

Apr. 24 2009 10:47 AM
hjs from 11211

bikers should demand a dedicated bike lane with a raised curb to protect themselves from reckless drivers

Apr. 24 2009 10:39 AM

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