Sue the World
It seems like there’s something for everyone to hate when it comes to Citi Bike. Despite a largely positive reception, bike share lovers still grumble about empty Citi Bike stations in the East Village during rush hour. As for bike share haters? They’re still searching for lawsuit opportunities at every turn.
Most recently, two lawsuits have been filed against Citi Bike by pedestrians who tripped over docking stations (both happened before the program even launched). The parties claim that the stations were hard to see, which would come as a surprise to the many neighborhood groups who assailed the stations for being too ugly.
I’ve purchased a bike-share pass, but my bike does not move.
You have to pedal.
Where is the motor?
There is no motor. One of the goals of the bike-share program is to reduce noise and pollution.
Wouldn’t it create jobs if the bike-share program hired employees to pedal clients to their destinations?
You have to pedal yourself. There’s no way around it.
Cycling is a wonderful option for those energetic souls who prefer pedaling to a bus, cab or subway. The cost of a bike is relatively cheap as well—you can get a decent bike, one that will last you many years, at a local shop for less than the price of dinner for two at some of the city’s finer dining establishments.
So why, then, do we have to share bikes?
In inaugurating its bike-share program, New York City has now joined the likes of urban thought leaders such as Madison, Wis., and Minneapolis, Minn. Mayor Bloomberg, who deserves an honorary yellow jersey for his contributions to cycling, kicked off the program, along with his transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, designer of the rightfully mocked empty thoroughfares known as bike lanes.
These last few weeks, to hear some people tell it, you’d think that New York’s streets have been endangered by one of the greatest threats to public safety that the city has ever seen (not to mention the worst aesthetic blight since the Ugg craze). Comparisons have been drawn between the Department of Transportation and the Taliban. There have been impassioned pleas, there have been fits of yelling and, of course, there have been lawsuits. But now, perhaps, we’ll finally get some respite from all the bike rack hatred as New Yorkers shift their hatred to the bikes themselves.
Citi Bikes will be arriving in the next few days—some 800 of the 6,000 bikes are already docked at stations—and New Yorkers will be able to take them out for a spin starting Memorial Day. It’s just too bad that the incessant whining over the bikes is likely to sound very much like the incessant whining over the racks, led first and foremost by the chorus of sanctimonious ninnies going on about public safety.
Heavy New Yorkers should probably think twice before jumping on a Citi Bike.
Though the Department of Transportation promised the bikes in the upcoming Citi Bike program are “sturdy, heavy bikes,” they’re not meant for overweight riders, according to a fact in Citi Bike’s user agreement, pointed out by The New York Post yesterday.
One of the victims of Superstorm Sandy was the city’s CitiBike bike share program. After the program was delayed last summer due to computer problems, many of the bikes and stations that were awaiting deployment were warehoused at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Much of the yards flooded when the East River burst its banks Read More
Planes Trains & Automobiles
For all the complaints about the city’s planned bike share system, is there any better way to get around right now? Social media is already flooded with reports of horrendous traffic—see the Instapic at left from The Times’s Sam Sifton, Journal transit reporter Ted Mann reports on Twitter that “City without subways: Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn is a titanic clog of traffic in the morning rush.”
“The deli will be open for breakfast shortly,” announces Mile End. “No MTA & heavy traffic delays slowing us down.” The Times has a pretty handy graphic of just how horrible it is.
The only thing thicker than the traffic is the tweeting and Facebooking about it. And the reports of multi-bus, multi-hour commutes, sans subway, are piling up.
This reporter will be riding his bike, and he can’t help but wonder if a lot more people would be, too, if they had the chance.
Street Fighters Too
Next year, spring showers will bring a flood of bikes.
Despite years of planning and the highest hopes, New York City’s bike share program will not be launching this year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his radio show this morning. “We are just not going to put out the system until it works,” the mayor said. “We were going to try a partial launch, but we’re just not going to do it if it doesn’t work.”
Is it possible that requiring every New Yorker to wear a helmet while cycling might actually be more dangerous for bicyclists than letting them continue on their merry way—cranium at the mercy of crazed drivers, hapless pedestrians, flying rats and their own personal incompetence?
That is exactly the argument made by every cycling enthusiast from Mayor Bloomberg to Joe Twowheels after Brooklyn City Councilman David Greenfield proposed a bill last week that would mandate cyclists don a Styrofoam dome before hitting the streets. Right now, that applies to children under 14, who also have the right to ride on the sidewalk, and delivery cyclists, who believe it or not, do not.
Mr. Greenfield wants to charge cyclists $25 for their first helmetless offense, $50 for the second and $100 thereafter. He points out that a good bike helmet does not cost much more than that first ticket, so what’s the excuse? “It’s basically common sense,” he said of his bill.
But bike advocates argue that the bill will have the opposite effect, making the city less safe for cyclists because it will depress ridership—after all, most New Yorkers are more worried about suffering helmet head than head trauma.
Despite nascent fears of out-of-control teens and flying Dutchmen, New Yorkers are eagerly awaiting the city’s bike share program according to a new Quinnipiac poll, which found that 64 percent of city dweller favor bike share compared to 30 percent opposed.
Now, Gothamites can find out if there will be a Citi Bike station on their corner, as the city’s Department of Transportation has just unveiled the preliminary map for its new 600-station, 10,000-bike strong bike sharing network.
The Observer cannot quite walk out our door and hop on one of the new bright blue rigs, but there is a station one block north and south of our offices, an arrangement that seems to be the norm for a system stretching from 60th Street to Atlantic Avenue. These bikes will be everywhere.
Well, unless you’re a townhouse dweller.