The Bikes and the Fury

The city’s long-anticipated program of public bicycles makes its debut in May, and as stations turn up in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, the war of cyclists and drivers and pedestrians is expanding.

Comments: 184

  1. 'It is hard to imagine that four decades ago, in early May 1971, fires were set and windows were smashed in the far reaches of Brooklyn in protest of cuts to Medicaid and other social programs, when so often now it is matters of lifestyle and taste that inspire our most expressive displays of contention and ire — our quaint revolutionary gestures.'

    Not so strange at all. The city is for the very rich or the very poor. The former obviously don't care about social programmes, only about their comforts. The latter are usually too busy surviving and/or defeated to care.

  2. I think she's talking about one of the many East New York riots.

  3. Worries that bike share station intensify traffic is nonsense. It's like filling up a glass (with one ice cube inside) with water until it overflows and then claiming that the problem with a glass of water spilling over is the ice cube and not all the liquid that was poured into the glass! Sure, if you remove the ice cube you have room for a bit more water, but the ice cube isn't the source of the problem. The ice cube is hindering a complete occupancy of the water, it's evidence that the customer is interested in more than just warm water.

    Bike share gives people options to get around without using cars. Cars are the source of the problem with traffic, not bikes.

  4. Re advertising: Cars have small subtle logos with a sense of style. The bikes are 25% CITIBANK logo in your face. You are going to look like one big ad. Should go well with your latest NYC fashion, if you like blue. These bikes are ugly.

    Not happy about them taking up alternate street parking. What if you ride a bike somewhere and there is no stall, they are filled. Ride until you find another then walk, with maybe an additional time charge. In DC they have vans driving around re distributing bikes, that's carbon neutral. Sure NYC will do the same. And then there are the bike enforcement officers being hired.

    The bikes are expensive, just buy a bike and own it for $100 instead. Just give us more bike parking areas for our bikes and motorcycles that fit in with the neighborhood landscape. My neighborhood has 3 rental/service shops. Is this really helping out small neighborhood fabric and businesses? I feel like this is force feeding.

    Why are there no stations on the upper east side? Where do the Citibank executives live? Think you will ever see a station next to 834 5th Av or 15 CPW? NIMBY.

  5. Is the giant yellow Hummer that parks in front of my building every day subtle and stylish?

  6. I should clarify--the LAUNCH of the program got scaled back. There were, and still are, plans for full coverage in Manhattan.

  7. If your destination station is full, it both gives you more time and tells you where the closest station with spots is. And there are no stations on the UES because the program got scaled back because of issues unrelated to your NIMBYISM theory. To name a couple, software problems and hurricane Sandy.

  8. The tyranny of the few...

  9. 2/3 of Ft Greene residents don't own cars. Talk about the tyranny of the few!

  10. It would have been helpful had the reporter noted that in a neighborhood with 6,800 parking spaces, just 35 are being turned into bike share stations in Fort Greene. If there is a "war" going on, this wound shouldn't inflict too many casualties on those who store their private cars for free on public property.

  11. Public property that we all pay for and may use for our cars, etc.

  12. I remember when NY used to make fun of California for being so health conscious and eco-correct; how things have changed.

  13. "In a very short time, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to show the world that they are just as virtuous, well-intentioned and offended by sloth as people in Copenhagen or Geneva or any other of a number of cities where mindful living and wonderful yogurts reign."

    Give me a break. These residents rely on bicycles because they are fast and efficient, not because they're some symbol of virtue. And that's why bike hate makes sense in New York. When you have a choice between a crawling crosstown bus, a slow and expensive cab ride, or a quick ride on a bike, you're making a practical choice. In a city that has a fast kind of minute named after it, Citi Bike will fit right in.

    Can the Times not editorialize so?

  14. Sorry. Bike share. Not bike hate. The bike hate makes no sense at all!

  15. To whatever is the next social movement that gets New Yorkers up and excited and moving:: be sure that Ms. Bellafante will be richly dismissive of your efforts. Be reminded of her unkinc, jaundiced columns on the early Occupy movement in NY (although she was not much different from many of her colleagues in this regard). Oh, those kids with their apple laptops!!

  16. As a non-driver who relies on public transportation......

    Very odd that there has been so much money for bicycles, bicycle lanes, bicycle infrastructure etc. at the same time that mass transit - particularly bus service - has been cut and bus and subway fares have risen?

    Also cyclists are not former car users, cyclists are former mass transit users, so this is unlikely to reduce car use.

    Also, why the double standard for delivery people and other bicyclists? Delivery people - who work really hard for low wages delivering food to affluent people
    - must wear helmets and vests,but "regular" cyclists do not?

    Perhaps the funding and focus on cycling while cutting mass transit is just another Bloomberg initiative focused at making the city attractive to the young and hip while making life harder for old people,disabled people, poor people, etc.

  17. So much money? I don't have the figures with me, but I've seen them, and it was something on the order of 0.1% of the DOT budget that was spent on bikes. In most cases, bicycle "projects" consist of striping a road with a different pattern when it was due for restriping anyway. That has a negligible incremental cost compared to the billions of dollars spent on motor vehicle infrastructure.

    As for bikeshare, the capital costs were paid by Citibank, and the operation costs will come from user fees.

    As a transit user, when I'm on transit I'm thankful when it's not overcrowded, regardless of what other mode of transportation was chosen by the people who are not there.

    There is no double standard regarding helmets: this is a workplace regulation, not a traffic regulation. Just like factory workers are required to wear safety gear that you are not required to wear at home even if you use the same tools. It's for the protection of the workers from employers who might otherwise not care about workplace safety.

    Finally, the MTA is a state agency and its funding cuts are not Bloomberg's doing.

  18. What are you talking about? Bike share is privately funded, most bike lanes are cheap and mostly funded by dedicated federal money and in many cases had also important safety purposes for protecting also pedestrians and drivers. The money spent on bicycles is a (tiny) drop in the bucket of transit funding and would have been nowhere near to make any dent into bus cuts or fare hikes. (to illustrate, NYC money spent on bicycle infrastructure over several years was less than the extra-money required to deal with potholes after a hursher winter:

  19. you do realize that absolutely no tax money has been used to fund the bikeshare program? all of the funding - 100% of it has come from private and corporate sources.

  20. With the advent of a pro-cycling movement across the city, danger to pedestrians is rising fast. Not only do we worry about rogue automobile, bus and truck drivers squeezing through yellow lights, turning without looking, or backing down a street aggressively for a parking space, but we have to contend with more people on two wheels as well. As much as I sympathize with bikers in their fight for a sliver of asphalt, I worry that this battle will ultimately affect pedestrians most. Despite special lanes, bikers still routinely drive in the street weaving around cars at intersections, bursting through crowds trying to cross streets, and zooming down sidewalks. And many who do use bike lanes feel comfortable going the wrong direction.

    On a recent evening, my wife and I and another couple were walking down the sidewalk near Hill Country on 26th street, and a bike zoomed out from a public space between two buildings, turned down the sidewalk, and barely missed us. And I mean by a fraction of an inch, going so quickly someone would easily have been injured.

    If bikers want public support, they need to take responsibility and understand that just as they feel terrorized by cars, pedestrians are terrorized by cars AND bikes routinely.

  21. Only your perception of danger is rising. More pedestrians are killed ON THE SIDEWALK by out-of-control motorists in a month than pedestrians are killed by cyclists anywhere in the city in a decade.

    Increased bicycle traffic is actually good for pedestrians, because it tends to slow motorists down and, as much as motorists may hate it, that's safer for everyone.

  22. The bicycle lanes in my neighborhood are never used and are a waste of street space. better to give them back to more needed traffic lanes.

  23. I'm impressed you are monitoring your neighborhood bike lanes 24/7 and have recorded your evidence they are "never" used. Congratulations on your determination and grit. /es

  24. Staten Island has the smallest bike lane network in the city, which keeps ridership down. When a bike lane network is more robust, bike riding rates go up all the time.

  25. Dear Rough Acres: it doesn't require 24/7 monitoring to come to the conclusion that bike lanes in certain areas are co-opting space that could be used by pedestrians or cars owned by local residents. There's a bike lane in my neighborhood that required extensive streetscape alterations. The thing has been there a couple of years ago now, and in all that time I have NEVER - yes, NEVER - seen a bicycle on it, and neither has any of my neighbors. No, it's not 100%, it's called sampling, a recognized scientific method.

  26. As a daily bicycle rider, I have some concerns about the bike sharing program; primarily dealing with safety issues.

    While probably not a very popular opinion, I implore the city to engage in at least the start of traffic enforcement upon bicyclists. The increased numbers of cyclists on the streets who appear oblivious to traffic laws as well as their own safety seriously needs to be addressed.

    Clearly there are no easy solutions that do not begin and end with us, the bicycling population, self-policing ourselves and coexisting with both pedestrian and vehicle traffic. However, if there isn't an education forced on the public via bike traffic enforcement, I am afraid that the bike share program will fail as personal injuries start to rise and become more serious. The streets are for everybody ... and giving right-of-way is hardly an inconvenience when it comes to another person's safety.

  27. A few years ago when the city's power went out in the late afternoon I was approaching the Manhattan Bridge and I was confused. The traffic was at a dead stop and all traffic lights were dead. But I had no problem, you see, because I was riding my bicycle. Except for the cars, a bike is a great way to get around the city. Faster than most alternatives though, sorry to say, not safer.

  28. If churches and other houses of worship are worried that the kiosks will take away parking spaces of parishioners, why not give up those No Parking zones in front and on the sides if on a corner - of each?

  29. Because dead people can't yet ride a bike to their own funerals - thus hearses need parking spaces. Unless we're banning funerals now, too.

  30. The 'No Parking' zones in front of churches, synagogues, mosques are there for fire safety reasons. To allow for fire equipment to pull right up to the premises. Note that schools and theaters have the same parking restrictions.

  31. Never mind bike stations. The real hazards are cyclists who show little regard for traffic signals--ride right through red lights at cross streets while pedestrians and cars must obey the traffic signals. Where is the traffic ticket for those offenders? Also, in a city that is already overcrowded with trucks, cars, buses, taxis, etc. Mr. Bloomberg has chosen to narrow traffic lanes even further so that many avenues now have about three lanes for moving vehicles. Parking spaces on those avenues are now almost in the middle of the avenue. Progress?? I don't think so.

  32. Never mind bike stations. The real hazards are drivers who show little regard for traffic signals--ride right through red lights at cross streets while pedestrians are in the crosswalk. The speed--in some precincts the NYPD is writing fewer than 20 speeding tickets all year. Where is the traffic ticket for those offenders?

    The Times recently reported that 44% of pedestrians struck by cars were hit when they were in the crosswalk with the right of way. Another 6% were hit on the sidewalk! So you have 50% of pedestrians injured in places that are designated as safe havens.

    This hysteria over bicycles in a city like NYC is misplaced. That cars are the status quo is meaningless. Change happens.

  33. This bike sharing program is the dumbest idea to hit NYC in the 40 years I have been here. We don't come close to reigning in the bicyclists we already have.

    Why is DOT trying to take away MTA ridership? We should be encouraging increased ridership. I predict, and hope for, an unmitigated disaster.

    Just a dumb idea for a city that should be a pedestrian heaven.

  34. Friends Against Noisy New York, will these bikes be equipped with alarms that go off at the slightest vibration and keep people awake? Will they have booming base stereo systems? Engines that rev?

    If the city should be a pedestrian haven, perhaps we should do more to limit cars!

  35. This is a perfect reflection of the ignorance of traffic management. Bike share will increase the number of bikes on the road, which will in turn cause drivers to slow down. On 8th Ave since the protected bike lane was installed, traffic-related injuries -- to pedestrians, cyclists and yes, even drivers! -- have dropped by a whopping 50%. If you want New York safer for pedestrians, you want more bikes, not fewer. Cars are what harm thousands and kill nearly 200 New Yorkers a year. Anything that slows them down will result in a safer city for pedestrians.

  36. Bikes are very quiet, so I would think you would appreciate that. Clearly, the target of the bike share program is a reduction in driving. If you can walk to the bike station, ride to the train you want, get off where ever and walk or ride, the car trip can become less necessary. Most major cities in Europe have or will have a bike share program. It will make the city quieter!

  37. For every business owner who complains about bikes blocking their store-front you can probably find 10 business owners who are upset that their stores will not receive as much exposure for NOT having the higher foot traffic that will come along with a bike station.

    And for every resident that complains about a bike station you will find dozens for not having any bike stations in their neighborhoods.

    I'm a former car driver who is very much looking forward to this program. The only complaint that I would have is we need more stations throughout all boroughs. However I understand that you have to start somewhere.

  38. Thank you BarT for your great comment. Lucky for you in LIC, Citibank insisted as part of its major sponsorship that Citibank also begin in LIC so its thousands of workers near its office tower in Long Island City could also participate in the new bike share program it is underwriting.

  39. Wait a minute here. Are you telling me that lovely Boston, with its very misguided and undeserved insecurity complex where NYC is concerned, is ahead of the Big Apple? We have had our bike share program, Hubway, for three years and it is a resounding success story. People thought Boston was "too mean" to have it work but they were wrong. Boston expanded the Hubway program when it opened again this Spring.

    Yes, drivers have to adjust to bikes on the city streets but, then again, Boston drivers were in desperate need of an attitude adjustment anyway.

    Give it a chance in NYC and make it work for your city. It will not be the end of the world as you know it. It's all good!

  40. And we've also had a rash of cyclist deaths because of the ridiculous bike lanes which zig-zag in and out of traffic lanes on the heaviest traffic streets.

  41. I just don't understand how these bike share programs don't succumb to all the bikes getting stolen immediately..And with half of them then being thrown in the river. That is what happened in Charlottesville..

  42. I unfortunately suspect that massive theft will do the program in. No way to tell if the person riding next to you is on a stolen citibike. Nothing is theft-proof.

  43. You can't take a bike out without giving bike share a credit card. So you can throw your bike in the river, but you'll pay for it.

  44. You sign up with a credit card, and each bike has a hidden GPS tracker. If a theft occurs while you are riding you report it to Citibike. Major systems around the world work fine, with no major problem relating to theft.

  45. I own two cars, a mini van and a sports car, but as far as the city is concerned, the more bikes and the fewer cars, the better. If I have to get hit, I'd rather be hit by a bike than by a car or truck.

  46. Great! So that's our choice now? Which vehicle we are going to get HIT by? Although publically-owned pedestrian space has been outright stolen by the Mayor and gift-wrapped for NYC bikers, none of these two-wheeled twits feels the slightest responsibility to respect the rules of the road. And what’s worse, the City has decided that they don’t have to.

    Since I was hit and injured by a bike going the wrong way on West 24th Street two months ago, I’ll make a deal with the guy from Carlisle, PA -- I won’t comment on how your city recycles its cow paddies if you don’t tell New York how to run its streets.

  47. "The area of disconnect the bike share program has most egregiously exposed is the one between the city’s understanding of community outreach and the way that information is received and processed in any given neighborhood. Many residents complained on Wednesday night, as they have in Brooklyn Heights and downtown Manhattan, that the metal stalls and kiosks seemed to appear, suddenly and out of the ether."

    Community outreach is the biggest joke of all. I have sat through and participated in so many "community outreach" meetings, where residents showed up, voiced their concerns, spoke of community needs, or expressed slight adjustments to whatever plan, or just spoke from their hearts. What a waste of good energy The fix is in long before the meetings take place. They are a sham.

    The big guys in suits sit at the front of the room, looking bored, or looking tense, maybe they listen, but the concerns of residents are not their concerns. They act upon a neighborhood, they do not act within or for a neighborhood.

    And now I know why the bikes are such a bright shade of blue..

  48. Ellen,
    I attended two bike share siting meetings early in the process. They were highly participatory, and officials from Alta Bikeshare and DOT were right at the tables with us, having real conversations and hearing our concerns.
    I'm guessing you won't sign up for the program, which is fine. It's just a new transit option.

  49. To be clear, I am in favor of bike sharing and may very well participate. My issues are with this alleged community input. I have participated in these meetings for over 20 years, with issues having nothing to do with bike sharing - I am glad to hear you feel they heard you and responded. That has not been the experience in my neighborhood as big money plans were implemented upon us and serious concerns dismissed with a shrug.

  50. How does a bunch of bikes with a corporate logo parked on the street constitute "selling a Landmark?" Do the frauds making such a laughable claim really expect to be taken seriously when they then deface the bike stalls thereby staining their "landmark?" Some people are just too full of themselves.

  51. Promoting bike-riding transportation is great, but what about helmets? Someone needs to develop a collapsable helmut that will fit in a small bag or backpack. Bike share users won't lug around cumbersome helmets for short rides.

  52. Time to bring back the old "hairnet" helmets the bike racers used to wear.

  53. In Paris, the bike-share program is called Velib, a contraction of velo (bike) and liberte (liberty)..

    Calling the bikes in NYC Citi-bikes is obnoxious. Can we engage in some civil disobedience and give them a better name? Suggestions?

  54. Actually, it is libre, velos en libre-service, meaning that the bikes are free to be used (for a fee).

  55. Hard to find something that New Yorkers WON'T complain about.

  56. Amen, Brother (or Sister)!

  57. Has anyone taken the time to look at the bike share station map? So many of the stations in the LES in particular are in THE MIDDLE of public housing developments. the bike share program is doing extensive outreach to NYCHA residents, and hiring outreach workers from NYCHA communities to connect public housing residents to the bike share program, in addition to offering sliding scale fees based on NYCHA residency. Ginia phoned this one in.

  58. Cyclists routinely ignore traffic regulations. When they believe they can do so safely, they ignore red lights. They often go opposite the traffic. Complain about this to an offender and if you aren't ignored altogether you may be cursed at. Cyclists often ride on the sidewalk. Sometimes these cyclists are transporting and thereby endangering young children.
    Where I live in Greenwich Village many streets are poorly lit and this makes for a dangerous situation at night, especially for older people with impaired vision and slower reflexes. Even if there happens to be a police presence on the scene when cyclists flout traffic laws there is rarely any effort to deal with violators. Can our politicians honestly claim that there has been any serious effort to educate the general public and specifically cyclists about applicable traffic regulations and the punishments for violating them? Are punishments strong enough to discourage initial and repeat offenses? Where are the subway, radio and television announcements informing the public of the relevant rules?

  59. The last time a cyclist killed a pedestrian was in 2009. In the intervening years, cycling has grown at tremendous rates. Meanwhile, the injury rate has remained flat or even decreased.

    The last time a driver killed a pedestrian was yesterday.

  60. Steve, that makes no sense. We have many many more cars in NYC than bikes. So of course cars injure more people than bikes.

  61. How would you like it if you got a ticket every time you jaywalked? When there is no traffic coming, it's totally safe to jaywalk, and complying with the letter of the law would result in a 2 minute delay in your trip, or cost you the energy of walking half a block to the corner? What do you do then? Should you get a $100 ticket every time you make the reasonable decision? Ride a mile in the other person's pedal-pushers.

  62. I missed the press release saying that the MAYOR believes so much in this program that he's insisted on having a bike share station installed in front of his own townhouse. But no! He NEEDS - in a way that only billionaires can "need" - his chauffeured SUV and a few extra parking spaces! Bike sharing is just for "the little people" and the rest of us can just hope not to get killed or maimed while crossing the street this summer.

    And since bike helmets apparently won't be required in this program, it should be interesting to see what happens when some unfortunate riders have serious injuries and want to sue the city.

  63. bike helmets might not be required, but free bike helmets will continue to be distributed by DOT at events in bike share station neighborhoods throughout the city....

  64. Every mayor gets a chauffeured SUV and a few extra parking spaces. It has nothing to do with being a billionaire.

  65. This claim that cyclists maim and kill is specious. There was one terrible accident a few years ago when a bike rider killed a pedestrian. This year alone, 20 cyclists and nearly 200 pedestrians were killed by motorists. So if you're afraid of getting hurt or killed, I would focus on the danger posed by unsafe drivers.
    Of course we want everyone to be safer on the streets, and I hope that little by little we can find a way to coexist peacefully.

  66. motorists have such a vast sense of entitlement, that any encroachment on their privileges (in this case, repurposed parking spaces) will be met with a furious response. Here's hoping that the next mayor and transportation commissioner will have the courage to face down thuggish motorists, and further enhance the walking and cycling environment in the city.

  67. The thugs are on bicycles. They have no respect for anyone nor for the rules of the road. They shoot through red lights without even a sideways glance and even threaten violence on pedestrians who complain after nearly being mowed down. This is in Brooklyn Heights.

  68. Bicyclists have such a vast sense of entitlement, that any suggestion they obey traffic rules is already met with a furious response. I hope the next mayor will have the courage to face down thuggish bicyclists, to enhance the safety of pedestrians in the city.

  69. Yes, some folks are angry about losing scarce parking. You are right, Will, that the source of death and violence on our streets are dangerous drivers in private automobiles and trucks.

  70. I welcomed the chance to bikeshare, and was excited to see the stations going up in my neighborhood.

    But I am very disappointed that the bikes look like Citibank advertisements on wheels. It will probably stop me from riding them.

  71. Take a look around next time you sit down in a subway, bus or taxi. Chances are really good you'll be looking at an ad for some product or company of which you thoroughly disapprove. Yes, almost all New Yorkers decry a LOT of what Citi has done over the past few years, but that shouldn't keep us from availing ourselves of a great new public program. View the money Citi spent on the bike program as a form of penance for their many misdeeds, a financial penance which allows this great program to be put in place with no charge to the taxpayers.

  72. CityBank put over 40m to finance the program.
    You can have your name on too if you open your wallet.

    Thanks CityBank

  73. The ads may be objectionable to some, but it's a small price to pay for a great new transportation option at no taxpayer expense.

  74. Hundreds of thousands of polluting cars take up curbside parking spots for free every day. Is it too much to have a few thousand non-polluting bicycles take up a few spots? Bike haters need to find something else to hate--like maybe the cars that kill and injure hundreds of pedestrians every year.

  75. OK but are the bicyclists going to stop at all red lights?

  76. Right!

  77. I'd like to know: When do the elderly / disabled get protected wheelchair / scooter lanes?

  78. You have it. It's called a sidewalk. Motorized wheelchairs, etc. go about 4 miles an hour -- walking speed. Stay on the sidewalk with the walkers if you drive one of these.

    In Minneapolis, we have a bike super-highway going thru the city, and the wheelchair riders love it, too -- which sometimes leads to problems, esp. during winter as the city plows the bike routes but not the sidewalks.

    I am a disabled cyclist who also uses a wheelchair. Trust me, there's problems with any kind of transportation route for people like me. My advice: Stay in the right lane, follow the traffic laws, and watch your back. Oh, and stop crabbing for perfection. It's New York City.

  79. Wheelchairs and scooters are legal & welcome on sidewalks; bikes are decidedly not. That's why we have spent a lot of taxpayer money on putting curbcuts at almost every corner in the city. If a conflict develops between wheelchair/scooter users and pedestrians, we should start a civic conversation along the lines of the one we have been having about bike, bike lanes, and the bikeshare program.

  80. L,
    If we continue to build out safer bike infrastructure, sidewalk riding will greatly diminish, and you will have more safe space on the sidewalks.
    Also, on many streets in NYC, there used to be sidewalks twice as wide, but they were narrowed in the 1950's and 1960's to accommodate additional traffic lanes for private cars. Park Avenue is a great example of this - formerly there was a huge landscaped median, and wide sidewalks. Over the years, both the sidewalks and the median were made narrower - resulting in today's highway through Midtown East. Fancy buildings, yes, but lousy conditions for walkers.

  81. to SRH of MA.
    When was the last time you saw a NYC pedestrian obey a traffic signal? I ride a bike everyday in Manhattan, and while I agree riders need to be more respectful of pedestrians, the fact is that going through red lights is actually safer for the bike rider, because it creates a zone of space between him and the pack of cars that are likely to pose a danger while doing something stupid - like a taxi pulling over without warning to pick up a passenger. I can't tell you how many times I have seen pedestrians step into the street from between parked cars, step off the corner into traffic without looking, and stumble around in a digital daze while listening to their iPods and staring at their smart phones. Everybody needs to be aware and careful - this isn't Copenhagen.

  82. Richard, I am in NY every six weeks or so and am very familiar with the mores of NYC pedestrians as I was born and bred there. And yes, the pedestrians aren't so aware of what is going on as many can't put their cell phones and pods away. I am also very frightened by limo drivers and cabbies who seem to make their own traffic rules. In all, I don't think the problems will be solved by bike lanes and bike stands.

  83. It's interesting how difficult it is to coexist and how human nature is afraid of change.

    To the storekeepers I'd like to say that when I take the bus or subway to go from A to B I completely bypass your store; even on the bus I am doing something other than looking outside the window and thus I don't see your store. When I am biking, on the other hand, I pass in front of your store, realize it is there and I will stop. I have a basket so I can carry stuff. Storekeepers should be encouraging bicyclists who "graze" around and can stop and shop.

    To the bikers I'd like to say that when you run red lights or through crossing pedestrians, you make them hate us all. Also, you are invisible if you ride at night with no lights. If you have never driven a car try and see; bikes are hard to see.

    Car drivers - please don't try to kill us all. 6 inches is not a reasonable passing distance. Hitting me with your rear view mirror is not ok. I have the right of way like everyone else. Respect me and I'll respect you. By the way, if you hit me you kill me.

    And to all pedestrians. Let's all stop be so sanctimonious. How many pedestrians cross against the light in front of coming traffic? How many pedestrians walk into bike lanes oblivious to arriving bikes? Try spending some time on a bike and you'll see how fun it is and how dangerous pedestrians can be to themselves.

    There's enough room for everyone if we all just cooperate. A smile, a wave of thanks or an apology all go a long way.

  84. C in NY

    Fabulous post. Couldn't agree with you more.

    I'm a bike rider, a car driver, a walker and soon I will be a bike share user, too. So I can take all of your good advice!

  85. Very well put ! Oh and don't forget to mention that it is bike messengers and food delivery bikes that are the main culprits for giving cyclists a bad reputation and unfortunately most bike-haters don't differentiate between these 'professionals' and the rest of us civilian cyclists.

  86. Yes, I like the part about cooperating if only we can come to some kind of consensus as to what that means.

    And MartinC has let that ugly cat out of the bag (it is a taboo conversation among most *Transportation Alternatives* members and policy makers): Rid the streets for one month of electrical "bicycles" and bicycle deliveries -- then see how many complaints about bicyclists there are from the community.

    Electric "bicycles" are not used as bicycles (the pedals are increasingly primed solely to accelerate the thing), and they are obviously power-driven vehicles that should be regulated as such. And we all know how wildly dangerous are those that actually use a bicycle for deliveries. No rules observed by them, so no rules violated, right?

    We are back to asking precisely what consitutes cooperation amongst the various shareholder of the streets of NYC.

  87. If London, which is one of the most congested cities in the world can make a success of bike sharing, which it has been doing for some time, then New York can do it, too. A little give and take will do the trick.

  88. James,
    You are right. London, Washington DC, Montreal, Berlin, Paris, etc. etc. All great cities with thriving bike share systems and excellent bike lane networks to help keep the bike riders safe.
    Within a few months, the so-called bike share controversy will change from "Why are they here?" to "Why don't we have this in our neighborhood?"

  89. The same people who complain about the Citibank logo on the bikeshare stations in their landmark blocks in Brooklyn were perfectly happy to park their heavily branded cars in the exact same locations. Perhaps all cars that park in these landmark neighborhoods should be required to have all of their brand logos removed?

  90. Yes, logos are everywhere. For the chance to brand the system, Citibank and the second sponsor, Mastercard, are providing enough seed money to launch a brand new transportation option for New Yorkers. I think it's a good deal for everyone.

  91. A logo on the front and name on the back of a car is heavily branded? Compared to bikes that are plastered with sponsorship like a NASCAR?

  92. Here I am in Cologne, my home since 1985. One of the most bicycle-friendly cities on earth. The irony is that 30% of the fatal traffic accident victims in this town are bicyclists. Despite extensive bicycle paths, many of which share the sidewalk with pedestrians. In 1987 I lost my dearest friend in NY to a collision between a bicycle and a truck. Hit and run. A teenage driver and a Dutch bicyclist. A collision of cultures. In this country that murderous teenager wouldn't be allowed to drive such a vehicle, the priviledge being reserved for persons of at least 25 years of age. I remember the terrible attempt in NY to introduce bicycle lanes during a transit strike. Which were promptly removed when the ensuing chaos was recognized. The German railway system has had a comprehensive bicycle sharing system going on since years. No stress, everyone's happy. I left Seattle as a teenager to study at The Cooper Union. One motivation was to live in a city where one could happily live as a pedestrian and bicyclist. I never had an accident in all of my NY years. And love the exhilaration of speedily crossing the streets of Manhattan without a roof over my head. In fact, I'm about to mount my bike and ride through the forests near to the Rhine river on civic bike paths. Highly oxegynated. Peaceful. Come by! I always have a bike free for guests!

  93. It's true that the Europeans are decades ahead of us on making bicycling safer and more accessible for everyone. I biked in France a few years ago, and it was lovely. Biking in Berlin last summer was splendid. Holland and Denmark are sensational for cycling. We have a lot to learn from European countries - most importantly, that bicycling can be a major part of any urban transportation system, at a fraction of the cost of busses and subways.

  94. This is becoming a city where only physically fit, young, and super-rich people can live.

  95. Seth,
    The annual price for bike share is less than one month of a metrocard. NYCHA residents get a steep discount. And if you're physically fit, the bikes are great. If you're not as fit as you like, using bike share every day is a great way to get into shape.

  96. $95 a year to use the bikes whenever wanted requires one to be super rich?!!?

  97. You can be unfit, old, and poor...and you can still ride a bike. Bike share can only be a good thing, it increases options for a great number of ppl.

  98. What is the point of the 30 minute limit? That seems like a very short bike ride. Who exactly is going to be using these bikes, that otherwise will just impede pedestrian traffic.

  99. So far over 5000 New Yorkers signed up in the first 30 hours annual memberships were on sale. I predict that number to quickly pass 10000 within the first month of operation, and five times more a few months later. Who will use these bikes? Commuters, people doing errands, local folks, tourists, students, professionals, people who are fit, people who are trying to get fit, etc. etc. etc.
    The 30 minute limit is because bike share is meant for short trips, like a short or medium length commute, a visit from one neighborhood to the next, or a quick exercise ride during a lunch break. The short time limit keeps the bikes in circulation.
    If someone wants to use a bike for much longer, dozens of bike shops and bike rental businesses are still available for hourly and day-long rentals.

  100. The point is that this is a system for "short" rides. It's not so you can rent a bike and go on a grand tour of New Jersey; it's so you can (for example) go crosstown in Manhattan in the most efficient way possible. It's meant as an extension of the public transit system to provide maximum flexibility for the first/last mile or two of your trip.

    Also note that if you buy an annual subscription, the time limit per trip is 45 minutes.

  101. I'm glad Bikeshare is starting. The program in Paris, Velib, had a few hiccups at first, and many skeptics. Now it's a well -loved aspect of urban life, and the city has introduced a share car counter part, Auto Lib. Velib is a concession, run by a private company and originally located its bike repair service on a barge cruising the Seine.

    I agree with other commenters about a focus on improved street safety. we need a massive educational outreach to bike riders, including those in the delivery business (ie. neighborhood restaurants) and more safety rules, requiring front and rear lights, reflective vests, bells or other warning devices, etc.

    Clearly, car & truck drivers should be strictly policed. They speed and run yellow and red lights, ignore stop signs at will in my neighborhood in a pedestrian , I never cross a street until I "let" all the aggressive drivers go past or turn into the crosswalk where people should have priority. The city could use the money it could collect by ticketing these dangerous scofflaws. But car/truck drivers rule!

  102. Nancy,
    Thank you for your comment. I too am glad that bike share is coming, to your neighborhood and to mine (Bed-Stuy). Improved bicyclist behavior would certainly be welcome by all New Yorkers, and I believe it is gradually moving in that direction. Your point about motorists, though, is very true. When a cyclist runs a red light, he or she is being foolish and reckless. When a motorist runs a red light, he or she is very likely to kill someone. Yet, mysteriously, NYPD often seems more interested in bike stings than prosecuting dangerous motorists for running reds or speeding.

  103. Hello. People have been killed in NY by reckless cyclists...most recently a guy running in one of the parks...and injuries...who needs a broken something or another because a cyclist is careless or uncaring.

  104. Its not the bikes that are hated, it's the arrogant way that they are too often ridden that inspires venom; against traffic, on the wrong side of street, on sidewalks, in flagrant disregard of traffic control devices and regulations, pedestrians and motorists.
    In an article in NY mag the bike riding author reported that he "tries" to stop at red lights! What are the obstacles that thwart his efforts?

  105. The article you reference from New York Magazine was hardly objective reporting - it was a screed meant to fan the flames of anti-bicyclist hatred, and apparently it stuck with you.
    I agree that some bicycle riders need to improve their behavior on the streets. There is a safety in numbers effect. I always stop at red lights, and usually, riders behind me will stop when they see me do the same.
    Better bike infrastructure, which has been slow to catch up to the massive demand, will also help improve bicyclist behavior.

  106. If I had a nickel for every car that runs a ride light in NYC -- Queens is my particular beat -- I could buy door-to-door limo service for the City. That constitutes a danger to New Yorkers that is at least an order of magnitude greater than an army of bicyclists.

    On any given day the presumption of perogatives that cars take from a pedestrian's viewpoint is breathtaking, even after experiencing it for some 30 years now as I have.

    The assault on the hegemony of the auto industry, an industry that has held that position for some 100 years, will continue, and well it should. Yes, the driver of the car will have to give something up to allow other forms of transportation to exist. And said drivers will assume any and every rhetorical position, however absurd, in order to maintain hegemony.

    "Free parking", frequently on publicly-owned property, is the next worthy target. That term is both an oxymoron and progaganda for the allegedly beleaguered driver, but that myth will also come under increasing scrutiny.

    It will be a fight, but I view it as a very good fight. Onward.

  107. All bike riders will stop at all red lights when all cars and all pedestrians do the same. None of the above are very likely to happen soon. Pedestrians and cyclists ignoring red do so largely at their own health risk. Behavior that leads to a scratch on a car body can cost a cyclist or a pedestrian their lives. Traffic-wise, pedestrians and cyclists have a lot more in common with each other than with drivers. The intermittent hate campaigns against cyclists remind me of the anti-welfare campaigns of the One-percenters. Workers and most welfare recipients actually have a lot more in common with each other than with the rich.

    BTW, there are judicious and stupid ways to run a red light for pedestrians and for cyclists, depending on the traffic situation and one's speed. By all means, hit the ones who endanger others hard, but let's stay away from blanket indictments.

  108. When bike riders (of which I am one) will honor the principle of "one road, one rule," a great deal of the anti-bike sentiment will vanish.

  109. The truth is that our roads have mostly been designed for the fast movement of cars. When the roads are gradually re-designed to include safe spaces for bike riders and walkers, everyone's safety and behavior will improve.

  110. When drivers stop killing hundreds of people per year and injuring thousands, a great deal of the anti-car sentiment will vanish.

  111. I ride in the city and welcome the bike share program. This will give everyone the amazing experience of riding in the city, something I've been doing for thirty years. The best kept secret of commuting to work or just riding in the neighborhood is about to be released to all. Riding a bike in the city is not only liberating, it's fun and efficient. No more dealing with dangerously driving, cell phone talking, grumpy taxi drivers. No more sitting in stalled trains on the way to work. No more fighting for parking spaces. No more having to go to a busy gym. It's exercise without knowing you're doing it!

  112. Great comment, Jack. Biking around New York is wonderful, fun, and affordable. Bike share helps to lower the barriers of entry for people who don't own a bike, are worried about bike theft, or just want to give it a try for a few weeks. Your last point about exercise is spot on - countries such as Denmark and Holland with high rates of cycling and walking have fit and happy people. Counties in the U.S. with the highest rates of driving often have high rates of obesity and related health issues.

  113. Pedestrians have sidewalks; drivers have streets.
    Cyclists need bike lanes.

    Everyone has the same right to safe transportation. Even cyclists.

  114. As if 14th and Broadway adjoining Union Square is not already congested enough ? Of course the bicyclists will ride on the sidewalks. What's CitiBank's cut from this ?

  115. It remains illegal to ride on the sidewalk, and cops should continue to ticket those who break this rule. However, with good bike infrastructure near Union Square, most cyclists will use the bike lanes in the vicinity. Good bike lanes help to keep things organized and safe.

  116. Citibank's cut is zero. That's like asking "what's Citibank's cut of that Citbank TV commercial I just saw."

  117. Citibank's "cut" is: they pay $27-million. They're the sponsor -- in exchange for paying for it they get their name on the kiosks. Not really such a bad deal for everyone, in my opinion.

  118. The street vendors are much more of a nusiance than bike racks. And, the bikes are healther!! Viva Bikeshare NYC!!!

  119. Bikes are healthier for you!! Not for everyone!!! And I can't eat a bike rack for lunch!!!!

  120. I'm shocked by the selfishness of those who oppose bike share stations because they take up a few parking spots. Right now drivers get 100% of New York's precious curb space -- much of it for free. Bike share seeks to take approximately 1/2 of one percent of those spaces for use by people who don't drive but bike -- either because they can't afford cars or because the simply prefer biking to driving. Not only that, but each parking space -- which currently serves exactly ONE New Yorker at a time -- will now serve perhaps 15 or 20 because it's possible to get so many more bikes in one of those spaces than cars. Despite this very reasonable trade off -- 1/2 of a percent of total parking spaces, in order to serve many more New Yorkers -- the anti-bike-share parking people say "No way. You can't have a single one of my parking spaces." Who have we become? Why should you and your one car get so much precedence over 15 or 20 of your neighbors' bikes? Not only that, but it's entirely likely that bike share might reduce car use by that 1/2 of one percent, making the whole thing a wash! And yet these selfish drivers feel so entitled to their parking. No one made you buy a car. No one gave you a life-long lease on curb space in New York. Cars pollute. They kill several hundred New Yorkers a year. They clog our streets. What if we all said no to your precious cars??? Why don't apply the golden rule here -- treat others as you want to be treated yourself.

  121. Of course, no one made you buy a bicycle, either.

  122. I want to say something appropriate in response to your comment, however, it is taking me a minute. I was not injured by a car though I was born and raised in NYC. However, my hip was fractured when a cyclist violated the right of way and bowled me over.

  123. Agree on something - the curb space is public space. It can be used for cars and for bicycles. Those who park their cars for free in Manhattan are, effectively, receiving a $6,000/year subsidy from everyone else. To everyone who complains about a lost parking space I'd like to point out that there's an alternative - park the car in a garage. In the space of a single car you can fit 6 to 8 bicycles.

  124. I'm prejudiced (anti-bike) but that's because I was hit by a bike going north on 5th Ave. Stupidly I'd looked only for vehicles travelling south. The biker insisted that the collision was my fault.

    In Paris bikers stop for red lights. In 2 weeks I saw only one person run a red light -- someone yelled at her in French, she yelled back in English with an American accent.

    When I cross 9th Ave. I have to be particularly careful getting across the bike lane which is 2-way, tho' not intended to be. And the bikes go really fast. I can hardly wait for tourists (who don't know their way around) on bikes. New York will become even more exciting and breath-taking. >

  125. I've had my share of mishaps with arrogant, aggressive cyclists. I've also had my share of mishaps with arrogant, aggressive motorists.For some strange reason, the idiot driving one or two tons of metal excites more of my prejudice than the idiot on 30 pounds of bicycle.

  126. "I can hardly wait for tourists (who don't know their way around) on bikes. "
    You are quite correct. The tourists are already going the wrong way, when they deign to use the bike lanes. Every time I have called out to them that they are going the wrong way, they smile and wave, as if we are cheering them on in a bike race. There will be very bad crashes soon.

  127. "In 2 weeks I saw only one person run a red light "

    You mustn't have been looking very hard. I'd say the majority run red lights.

  128. Biking is awesome and has obvious benefits. Great views, fast, cheap, good exercise, reliable. It doesn't pollute and one can avoid train delays and overcrowding.

    I hope more people bike. While those who complaint may have some valid points, the facts are that bike riding will vastly improve the city and its inhabitants.

  129. Why do the "bike people" more often seem arrogant and concerned about their own personal rights, and convenience, while those who oppose them seem concerned about public safety, children, the elderly, the disabled, etc?

  130. Because "bike people" need to be a little louder to get their voices heard. Everyone seems to be so afraid of change and predicts doom and gloom, even though many other cities have successfully implemented the same bike sharing arrangement.

    There are bad bikers and there are bad pedestrians. Both need to learn to share the public space. Not all bikers are bad, and not all pedestrians are "good"

  131. "I predict, and hope for an unmitigated disaster." Gee, thanks for sharing your enlightened opinion with the rest of us. You really clarified it. Very positive. BTW- maybe after 40 years in NYC its time to bring some of that lovely attitude back to wherever you came from.

  132. While I welcome this development as it will bring more bikes and take away a few additional parking spots for New York City, I believe that there are probelms.
    First, I think that $10 for unlimited ride in a 24 hour period is pretty steep. Most people won't take 5 30 minute trips, which would arguably justify the price. $10 for one 30 minute trip seems hardly worth it, although perhaps the membership plan is a better deal in that regard.
    Second, NY has some idiosyncratic bicycle rules. For example, bikers should bike on the left hand side on one-way streets. People new to biking would not be familiar with this rule necessarily. A lot of these new bikers will not be familiar with the way that people should bike in NY. Granted many bikers violate stop signs and one way street rules (namely delivery guys, who I believe should be regulated much more, because they should know better), but new bikers might exacerbate this problem and cause more anti-bike sentiment.
    Third, NY biking requires you to be pretty quick on your feet and alert. If I was a worse biker I would have mowed down the clueless brunchians meandering down the bike path this morning. I would have probably also crashed into one of the eight cabs semi-legally standing in the bike lane (don't even get me started on car services). If there is a much lower barrier of entry to bike, I am worried that those people might not be able to respond well.

  133. Great. More heedless cyclists to slam into pedestrians. You should have to wear a helmet to walk the streets.

  134. Sometimes pedestrians slam into cyclists. The wrong is never all on one side and the bad behavior of a few bikers should not prejudice the right of all.

    There are reckless drivers speeding in school zones; should we prevent every car driver from driving?

  135. I've found cyclists to be a huge problem in Manhattan. Brooklyn, no problem. Queens, sure. But in Manhattan, you can't just keep going at a specific rate of speed. Everyone, cars, pedestrians, everyone has to watch out for others, stop a lot and change direction constantly. I find that a lot of cyclists see themselves as exempt from this. They go as fast as they want, and then freak out if someone is in their way. It's Manhattan. People will be in your way. If you can't handle that, stay in Brooklyn. Since its a city of walkers and subway riders, bikes aren't a necessary or more environmentally positive addition unless they can adapt to Manhattan. Right now I dont see that happening. And like Dorothy said, lets not add tourists on bikes into this mess.

  136. Pedestrians in Manhattan are just as bad; they cross against the light, jaywalk, don't check before crossing etc. Manhattan is a city of walkers and subway riders because there are no viable alternatives.

    Give people a choice and see what happens? Why wouldn't bikes be a viable addition to Manhattan? They work in London, they work in Paris, they will work in Manhattan

  137. I must have biked over 3000 miles in the few years, 95% of which have been in Manhattan. I find biking as a commute to be cathartic in a city like New York, where we are often stuck in small spaces for long periods of time. Even in the cold temperatures, a bike in the open air can do wonders to lift your spirit. BUT, even with all my experience traversing these intensely busy streets, even when using the bike lanes unless I absolutely have no other choice, I find every ride to be challenging, hectic, and even life threatening. Talk about feeling like a pinball in a pinball machine. I always tell people biking in NYC is akin to being between a rock and a hard place, except it's really between: a garbage truck & an ambulance, a parked-in-the bike-lane taxi & an SUV, a street cart & a jaywalker, etc.
    I cannot imagine how this flood of bikes will play out in our extensive yet very unforgiving bike lane network. You must be very, very alert while biking these mean streets, and from what I've seen of typical tourist behavior, or of casual bikers-there's going to be a lot of trouble out there.
    The city should be doing all it can to promote AWARENESS of what is going to happen when there is all of a sudden thousands of new bikes competing for space on our already crowded streets.
    That said, good luck to it and I hope it works.

  138. Hello David,
    It is not just bikers competing for space that worries us. It is the safety as you point out. I am sure you are not one of the many cyclists I have seen violating the rules of the road and terrifying and injuring pedestrians. Thank you for bringing up the AWARENESS issue. I hope you are educating your fellow bike riders about courtesy to pedestrians and generally following the rules of the road.
    I was hit by a cyclist in 2007 while I was crossing Broadway with the light. My hip was fractured. Luckily I survived.
    Thank you for your interest, and for not making the streets as mean as you may have encountered.

  139. Bad idea; the majority of cyclists ignore all traffic rules, sailing through stop signs and never yielding to pedestrians. In my neighborhood on the uws several children trying to cross the street have already been hit by cyclists. The reason they ride around with impunity is that the police enforcement is nonexistent.

  140. The city needs to hear from more people like you, Albert.

  141. Let's all us pedestrians stop being so sanctimonious. How many pedestrians cross against the light in front of coming traffic? How many pedestrians walk into bike lanes oblivious to arriving bikes? How many of them jaywalk?

    A number of bikers don't respect the rules, like many pedestrians don't respect the rules.

    Just because some car drivers speed in school zones, should you prevent all drivers from driving?

    There's enough room for everyone if we all just cooperate. A smile, a wave of thanks or an apology all go a long way.

  142. Last summer in Montreal I used their bike share program to get around. It allowed me to explore the city with ease. I think it will be a great addition to the city.

  143. Although I am not a New Yorker, I have lived in several European cities where bikes and cyclists are simply a part of the landscape, urban as well as rural. Change for some people is often a challenge, but I hope Bike Share is a success. I also cannot help but wonder what Bill Cunningham thinks about it given that he is inseparable from his trusty cycle. Has anyone at the Times asked him?

  144. I'm generally supportive of the bike program, though I admit that there's a feasible chance that the city - or New Yorkers - will muck it up.

    I get that the rise in bike ridership has caused a substantial amount of acrimony among New Yorkers - adding another layer of commuters to the city streets will do that. Though I know a lot of cycling advocates will jump down my throat for this, I believe the acrimony would be substantially decreased if the police kept a keen eye on violations of the law by cyclists, and enforced such laws stridently.

    The reality is that, though the city ha constructed an impressive bike infrastructure over the past few years, there are still a great many cyclists that don't use said infrastructure or adhere to the rules of the road. Plenty of cyclists still ride the wrong way on one-way streets, run red lights (more often than not, in my view, cyclists run red lights), and in many parts of the city - including Flatiron, where I live, and Midtown West, where I work - I worry more about getting hit by a cyclist than by a vehicle. When cyclists begin operating by the same rules of the road that everyone else does, the acrimony will diminish greatly.

  145. Thank you, V

  146. It is the same in SF. The city steals city streets and parking from drivers and gives it to bikers. Drivers are licensed, are insured and pay taxes that pay for the roads. Bikers are not licensed, are not insured and pay no tax for road use. Bikers could care less about the law of the road as they zip about, never ever stopping at intersections for cars or people. They whine about the loss of "momentum" if they have to stop and obey the law: boo hoo. In SF a biker occasionally hits a pedestrian and kills him and yet is subject to no regulation and little general enforcement of the law.

  147. I own a car but I'm very excited about being able to use these bikes. Everyone in this city pays plenty of tax for road use and everything else, whether they own a car or not -- personally, I'm happy to pay and I think, overall, we get plenty for our money in this town. I look forward to biking around town and having a safe place to leave the bike rather than having to take my own bike and risk its being damaged or stolen.

  148. Each bike replace a car or a cab roaming the city. However it takes about 1/10
    of the space with no air and noise pollution. It's time to make room by getting
    less cars in the city by some charge to drive method.

  149. And until that time leave the bike craze where it is.

  150. Come on already, this is way overdue! New York is the only big city in the developed world I've been to that does not yet have a public bicycle sharing system. It is great for tourists and locals alike, but I believe it is more of a boon for local citizens who prefer to reduce their carbon footprint as well as get their exercise. Can't wait for a time when I don't have to take my bike in and out of storage every time I use it. Plus friends and I've had multiple bikes among us stolen here. And believe me, it won't take away from the business of yellow cabs if that's what they're afraid of for those are quite distinct markets. This is the time when NYC officials should not be wimpy. Mayor Bloomberg, where are you when we need you?

  151. No, we are afraid of those of you bike riders who do not follow the rules. I have been bowled over by a cyclist who violated the right of way (my hip was fractured). Another family member was hit and thrown into traffic when he was crossing with the light. You should be spearheading safe biking classes to your fellow riders so others will accept the program you want.

  152. Why are so few pointing out that, based on the pricing, the Citibike program is just suitable for the really small niche market of those who would be able and willing to "commute" for 30 minutes or less? After that period the price of renting the bike increases exponentially and they already have your credit card, so you will pay. Is the true idea of this "bike program" to rip off unwitting tourists, especially those with limited English skills, who will discover that these bikes are not priced for casual bike use.

    This is an absurd and pathetic gesture towards promoting bike riding on a grownup level like so many other world cities (where the costs make more sense and in some of which, the bikes are free!). And most of those cities also integrate intelligent planning for bike riding with that for cars (including public off road parking facilities) , public transit (including real regulation of taxis, the largest source of "congestion" per vehicle in Manhattan) and pedestrians.

    Instead, in New York City, all of these transportation modes are uncoordinated and in fact put in competition, if not war, with each other as a matter of public policy. And we get various special interests for each mode (including blathering partisans in these comment pages) trying to "win" the battle by denigrating or dismissing the others, even though they ALL are essential and unavoidable.

  153. A small "niche" market? In fact, the overwhelming majority of bike trips in New York city are under half an hour in length, and bike share is designed to serve that market. Tourists who want to rent a bike for several hours of riding around the city can do so at any number of businesses that provide this service. If you knew anything about bike share systems you'd understand -- they don't work if people take bikes out of the system for long, sustained periods of time. They work because of a fluid market for the use of bikes, which means they are constantly being redistributed through the system. That's why bike rental stores are in single, fixed locations, not all over town. You rent the bike for a day, you ride it around and then you take it back to where you rented. In a bike share system, I ride a bike from the Village to Midtown. You take that bike from midtown to Tribeca. The person in Tribeca rides it to the East Village. As everyone in the system does this, bikes flow throughout the system and remain readily available - another requirement of a bike share system. Pricing is set to incentivize this type of usage. And your suggestion that bike share exists to rip off tourists is absurd. There a many successful bike share systems around the world built on this model, and none of them exist to rip off tourists. They only succeed if they are used (and paid for) by large numbers of locals.

  154. Reader -

    Aside from blatant if self-assured misrepresentations of fact (among other things, I have used great bike share systems in 5 different cities around the world, and none of them is like this one), you miss and misstate the basic point: assuming any number of people currently "commute" by bike in this city for less than 30 minutes, virtually all of them most definitely (1) already have their own bikes; and (2) don't and won't do it between a limited number of bike racks scattered around town. Tourists might try it, though (at least once). Good money for the "bike share" system, eh?

    So who is really the "market" for this service, aside from the pockets of those representing Citibank, Citibike and a few government agencies pretending to be "green" when they could and should be doing so much more for both transportation and the environment. How did they get this "bike share" system in place when they still have not come close to putting a minimal bicycle friendly attitude and infrastructure, physical and otherwise, into place? People complain about cars, but the street surfaces and signage for bikes (as well as for cars and pedestrians) are by themselves a primitive joke and a substantial impediment to increased biking in the city.

    In short, who do you represent in supporting this extensive and expensive nonsense, and why?

  155. Just this afternoon my wife was almost struck by a speeding bike rider. The handlebars brushed against her chest in what could have been a serious crash. I do not use the word "accident" because there was nothing accidental about it. My wife had the right of way as this entitled fool on wheels zipped around the corner to make an illegal turn against traffic. Also note that the rider was not in the useless multi-million dollar Bloomberg Boondoggle Bike Lanes. While this biker stopped to apologize, is that good enough? The vast majority of the city's bike riders - based upon this native New Yorker's experience - do not obey the rules of the road and when they hurt people there are zero consequences. This reinforces their reckless behavior. Where are their ID plates? When one of these menaces zooms into someone, we should be able to ID them by the same method we use for scofflaw, dangerous auto drivers. If the city is going to invest (waste!) millions of dollars to accommodate bike riders, then I say it is incumbent upon the city to regulate their use of the roads. It is a matter of public safety. This situation will not get any better what with the mayor encouraging any dolt with a credit card to hop on a bike and peddle away without any permit, without any road test and without feeling restrained by traffic laws. They think those laws only apply to cars. And thus far, they are correct. This must change.

  156. "incumbent upon the city to regulate their use of the roads"
    "handlebars brushed against her chest "
    Either that or issue everyone protective bubbles of 3 feet of personal space assurance - ohhhhhh the Humanity.

  157. Car drivers don't seem much restrained by traffic laws either, and why should they be - if they hit someone, even if drunk or unlicensed, like likelihood of getting even a ticket is slim to none. No one in New York feels the traffic laws apply to them.

  158. You are right, SteveRR. My wife was almost knocked down on the street by a careless biker because she neglected to don her Captain Marvel Suoer-Protective Cloak.
    Are there any other crimes in which you blame the victim? Please list them for us.

  159. The reaction to so many New Yorkers to the introduction of bikeshare is indicative of the self absorbed myopic view of the world that seem to hold. Bikeshare has been successfully implemented in cities around the world. In DC, Boston, Montreal, even Houston and Denver the programs have been a huge success. Theft has been a non issue. No one has sued these cities for injuries sustained while riding a bikeshare bike. As far as I understand accidents involving bikeshare riders is another non-issue. In DC the program has attracted a large group of loyal users and the impact on non-bikers has been minimal. I suspect that the same will happen in NY.

  160. It is a non-issue until you are hit by a bike rider not following the rules.

  161. I looks like New Yorkers will fight over anything.

  162. Thank goodness. We all need to speak up when something needs to be made right.

  163. The DOT's sponsorship of closing a street with sham data about the criteria for doing so in Ft Greene...which has become Fowler Plaza...and then creating a manipulated and anonymous "survey" purporting it is "liked" ... dismissing residential impacts is to explain that the best interests of neighborhoods is a myth in the DOT's goals and in their methods. Two petitions were poo-pooed...letters were ignored... condescension worthy of an oligarchy making the rules...

    They (Sadek-Kahn et al) have done so hand-in-hand with the NYCEDC (Economic Development Corp) and implemented the local and disdained BID-Fulton Area Business Alliance..."FAB" along with the co-opted Community Board 2...whose appointees in great part come from that bastion of residential concern...Borough President Markowitz whose goal somehow-hmmmm-coincidentally...surprisingly...benefit real estate interests...I give you Bruce Ratner...for starters...

    But getting back to the bicycle stations...The point in all this is that unless one is social networked into the p.r. hype which is the modus operandi of these agencies (and for which relatively young bicycle riders just "happen" to readily access) the outreach to those who are dismissed if they haven't "facebooked" leaves a whole lot of seniors (who need their cars & parking)...a whole lot of busy residents who need to make a living... or whose immediate concerns are caring for their children...out of honest and well informed cooperative decision making.

  164. Will the city provide safe bike lanes? A bike program without safe lanes is an exercise in futility.

  165. you shouldn't need bike lanes. Bikers should be able to share the street with cars without the added protection of bicycle lanes. Utopia? Maybe. Certainly, a state to aspire to.

    In the meanwhile, I welcome all the bike lanes I can get

  166. Having been born and raised in New York City, I have lived through many changes in the city. A few years ago, I moved out of state but still return frequently to visit family. In 2007, while crossing Broadway at 48th street, I was struck by a bicyclist who apparently came south on Broadway and crossed 48th against the light. My concern with encouraging more people to ride the city streets on 2 wheels is that more cyclists will not follow the rules of the road and pedestrians will be put at risk. Fortunately only my hip was fractured in the accident. I still have the spirit of a New Yorker and enjoy my visits very much.

    I was wondering if someone would address what sort of public education there will be to ensure bicycle safety. I see mothers and nannies crossing streets pushing a stroller in front of them. These little ones could be clipped by a speeding cyclist before the mother even sees it. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists alike will need a whole new mind-set to deal with rookie peddlers. On the other hand, I enjoy biking myself and may try the new system next month.

  167. Well said Henna. I'm sorry you were hit and I would be curious to know if if was by a food delivery person or message courier. I ride a bike every day to and from work in NY and am ashamed at the way the delivery people flaunt the road rules. The riders of electric bikes are by far the worst.

  168. After blowing million of dollars on sparsely used bike lanes, and now this over-budget bike share program, the City must now consider a ticket and fine of at least $100 for any biker not using the lanes or not using them properly, which includes speeding. If a rider needs to get from one bike lane to another by crossing through regular streets, get off and walk your bike. If the lanes are canals, then everything else should be treated like portage.

  169. America is in retrograde. I travel the world all the time and notice that America is crumbling. One of the main reasons, American people don't like change, and by people I mean companies. Some company will always be disadvantaged by change and progress. They are the loudest opponents. They have lobbyists in various degrees. This bike program is a great example. Let's not change and keep doing everything the way we always have. What is that great American expression "if it ain't broken shy fix it" or something like that. After all, it worked for the dinosaurs. Bring on cycling everywhere in the city. The more the better.

  170. Got my adrenaline rush this weekend walking along the Hudson from 96th to 50th or so. It's dangerous for pedestrians on a nice day despite the law ostensibly putting pedestrians first. Some poor kid will get killed soon enough (I saw some near misses) and we shall see where that leads.

    Good news for me is I played football in Texas, running back and defensive end, and I know how to lower my shoulder when I need to. The maniac bicyclist that hits me is gonna feel it.

  171. Dude,
    There is the back side as well. Unless you have eyes in the back of your head, you have to depend on the kindness of to speak.

  172. Unfortunately most of comments directed at speeding and/or careless cyclists are probably directed at those who are competitive riders using very expensive machines but lacking the common courtesy skills which everyone riding should have. As I raced a bike while living in Manhattan or Brooklyn many years ago I can attest to this kind of behavior, not on my part, although I probably went through red lights often enough. But I was always attentive to pedestrians. After all, both pedestrian and cyclist can be hurt in accidents. As for bicycles being available as an easy mode of transport, I am in favor of it. But we all have to obey the rules, whether we are competitors, messengers, or ordinary people.

  173. "Unfortunately most of comments directed at speeding and/or careless cyclists are probably directed at those who are competitive riders using very expensive machines"
    No. And you have no right to make that assumption based upon nothing but your feeling. But you know that or you would not have inserted the cop-out word "probably." These are ordinary bike riders with typical bikes.

  174. Fact: In 2012, cars injured 15,465 pedestrians and cyclists in NYC, and killed 155 -- many of them children and the elderly. In the last decade, well over 100,000 New Yorkers have been hit and injured by cars. Bikes may bother you, and they may occasionally lead to collisions with pedestrians, but they do nothing like the damage cars do. A cyclist hasn't killed a pedestrian in NYC in nearly four years.

    To all of you who rail against the "entitlement" of cyclists, the evil of bike lanes or the loss of a few precious parking places for the minority of New Yorkers who own cars -- what would say if cyclists injured over 15K New Yorkers and killed another 155? Many of you seem to excuse that carnage -- or somehow can't find the outrage for it -- but the idea that people might want to ride a bike safely to work and back, or for exercise, or to take their kids to school really gets you riled up. It's bizarre.

    If you rail against cyclist behavior and don't loudly condemn the carnage taking place continually on our streets because of the entitlement of drivers -- who speed, fail to yield, drink and drive, run lights and engage in all sorts of other unlawful behavior with severe consequences for people who deign to simply walk on the city's sidewalks -- well, that's hypocrisy plain and simple. So don't look for support from your fellow New Yorkers when you want to preserve your precious parking spots. When cars stop terrorizing NYers, maybe we'll be a bit more sympathetic.

  175. What you cite are not, as you characterize them, "fact." They are statistics. Nobody I know who was involved in a close encounter with a scofflaw biker, and the number is virtually everyone I know, has reported it to the police. Why bother since there are no ID plates on bikes so there is nothing the cops can do? This deflates the numbers so that the incidents which get counted are generally only ER reports where a serious injury resulted. The stats are not reflective of the situation.

  176. Virtuous? Wonderful yogurts? Why such snark, Ms. Bellafante? It's just people wanting to safely ride a bicycle for transportation. It's just normal. It has nothing to do with being trendy, or whatever it is you seem to think is going on.

    The NYT fashion/trend/lifestyles blather is just too much. There should be a subscription rate for access to national news and opinion, with the option of omitting the local news from the 'scrip, most definitely including the silly "journalistic" local style of same.

  177. I believe we need to promote a more livable street culture. The traffic in New York is self-perpetuating, with people and cars running lights, stalling against traffic in intersections, and generally attempting to forge the road with a "me first" mentality. I think bikes should face more penalties for not following the rules (though I find the notion of "bike license plates" absurdly unfounded--cars and bikes operate in such wildly different spheres of impact on streets and potential liability that to class them together is nothing short of flippant), but the big issue here (as a few have already stated) is the failure to enforce and promote a reasonable street culture. Many in this forum complain of cyclists' abuse of city laws, but it's not difficult for me to see how riders may become frustrated navigating the streets with no support or regulation of their designated areas. As an avid rider who suffered in an accident with a cab (for which the driver was cited, not me), I've promoted following every rule in the book. Yet I still find it challenging to cooperate with the insolence I get from aggressive drivers who cut in front of bikes at intersections or idle in bike lanes. Calling us all reckless road hogs is childish. However, the concerns about this program are well-founded. It's just that the aggression is misplaced. We need more assistance regulating traffic at congested intersections, and real enforcement of laws that impact both bikers and motorists alike.

  178. what about helmets?

  179. If you want to wear one do so, but let everyone decide for and with their own heads.

  180. Pedestrians often neglect to follow street rules. "i'm walking here"

  181. Cyclists need to learn the rules of the road and be held accountable- drivers too. In Queens, all to often, drivers run red lights and race pedestrians across intersections.

    Sidewalks are 10% of the streets and pedestrians are 90% of the population, but drivers get 90% of the area. The majority needs wider sidewalks and safer bike lanes. Cars, after all, compromise the quality of life for the majority of us.

  182. I finally saw a police officer giving a ticket to a guy riding in the wrong direction on Columbus Avenue. The offender was not making a scene; he was in the wrong and he knew it. Enforcement of the rules of the road by the police and parks department rangers is crucial to dealing with the small percentage of nitwits who have little regard for others. A fine of 150.00 dollars or more can make the point and perhaps save a life down the road.

  183. Mark my words: overall pedestrian injuries will be DOWN from current levels after bike share has been up and running for a while. Yes, sure, there might be more bike-on-ped crashes than there are now (although I'm not convinced of it), but OVERALL ped injuries from all sources together will be DOWN from current levels. Why? How? Because all the additional cyclists on the road will contribute to taming the REAL dangers: drivers.

  184. Mark - Lol. Well, they would still feel it (not small). Truth is I have seen enough crazies when I'm there (every 35 seconds or so to be precise) that I actually do try to listen for them approaching and half- turn around just in case. Sort of ruins the point of taking a walk in the park I guess.