Is Bike-Sharing in NYC’s Future?

[Bike-Sharing in Lyon, France. Courtesy Time Out New York]

Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC the new DOT Commissioner, and Transportation Alternatives, New York is becoming a more bike-friendly city, and more and more people are starting to bike regularly. Up next could be a bike-sharing program, which are already successful in many European Cities (Here’s info about the Paris, Copenhagen, and Barcelona models), and newly implemented in Washington D.C. Everyone from city residents to tourists are nuts about bike-sharing: it’s a cheap, easy, healthy, environmentally friendly way to get around cities. In NYC, where so many of our transit trips are short and congestion is only getting worse, bike sharing makes so much sense to me.

There’s an experiment beginning July 10th to see what it could look like in New York. A “summer pilot program” produced by the Forum for Urban Design, the Storefront for Art & Architecture, and the City Bakery, the New York Bike-Share Project will consist of 20 bikes available for 30 minute rentals (for free!) at a few locations in downtown Manhattan, and an exhibition and discussions about the feasibility for a long-term project.

Your help is needed to make it a success! The project wants to know how New Yorkers would use these bikes for short trips–so go for a ride! Or, better yet, join me in volunteering: There are shifts available from Thursday July 10th – Monday July 14th. If you’d like to help out, please e-mail info@forumforurbandesign.org. I’ll report back with pictures.

Read more: Bike-Sharing Gets Smart, Time, June 12, 2008

Bicycle-Sharing Program to Be First of Kind in U.S., New York Times, April 27, 2008

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4 Responses

  1. No because these bikes will be stolen (swiped out with stolen CCs and cell phones) and sold for scrap metal.

  2. they’d have to make sure the bikes were unlike any other bike, so that they wouldn’t be stolen and used either for parts or whole, here in New York!

    or maybe put transponders inside them somewhere…

  3. it’s true that many bike-sharing programs have been de-railed (sorry) by theft. however the successful programs in europe, and the new program in D.C. do a few things to prevent theft that seem to work well:

    *use key-card locking systems that is attached to your credit card, so if a bike is lost or stolen on your watch you automatically get charged
    *install tracking devices on the bikes
    *as carolita mentioned- the bikes are made slightly differently than other bikes, so they can’t be taken apart and re-sold.
    no one talks about thievery for scrap metal purposes, so maybe it’s just not a huge issue. also, hopefully there’d be a community-watch system once people start recognizing the bikes…

  4. There will have to be huge shifts, culturally and logistically, for New York to be truly bike friendly. Coming from what is usually considered the most bike-friendly city in the country, I can’t imagine the New York, get-the-#@*!-outta-my-way attitude changing any time soon. I wouldn’t feel safe biking here, and the cyclists I’ve seen here don’t seem very safety savvy either (case in point- the four cyclists I saw last night in Williamsburg with no helmets and no lights.)

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