When I was on a project in Minneapolis for 6 months, I frequently used the bike-share program there, Nice Ride MN. I thought it was awesome – you just go to a bike kiosk, rent a bike, ride around, and you can return it at any kiosk in the city. It was such an easy way to get around and to explore the city. And it definitely is so much more environmentally friend than driving. My friend Grace and I rode all around the city, exploring different restaurants, getting some exercise in, and hanging out by the gorgeous lakes around town.
So I was really excited to find out that a bike-share program will be coming to NYC. This past week, the Bloomberg administration announced that it had selected the company Alta Bicycle Share to run its bike share program that will roll out next summer. Once fully implemented, with 600 rental stations and 10,000 bikes in NYC, it will be the largest bike-share effort in the country. I am definitely pro-bike-share program, but I do have a number of concerns about having a bike-share program in New York City. First of all, the streets of New York are definitely not like the streets of Minneapolis. In Minneapolis, there were bike lanes everywhere. And there’s a whole lot less traffic. Although 250 miles of bike lanes have been added to New York City in the past 4 years, I am still worried about the safety of so many bikers on busy NYC street. Sure, bikers will stay in bike lanes, but you can’t trust cars to stay out of them. Drivers in New York are relentless. I wonder if bicycle-related accidents will increase. And I’m also worried about bike theft. New York is definitely a very safe place, but people can be very clever in trying to steal those things out of the kiosks.
So there obviously are a number of questions that still need to be answered, but no matter what, I think this is a wonderful step forward for greening New York City. And if I am assured that it will be a safe option to get around, I will definitely use it, because I definitely spend too much money on cabs! Less traffic leads to less congested air; more people riding bikes leads to healthier residents; both add up to a healthier city!