New York Bike Share Program on Hold Until Spring

New York City is still planning an ambitious bike-sharing program. But Mayor Bloomberg said last week that it will not be launched until next year.

Bicyclists had been eagerly anticipating the program. Many cyclists hope that more bicycle riders will mean improved safety for bikers, as motorists adapt to sharing the road with more and more bicyclists.

Of course, a city-sponsored bike-sharing program has to be done right. It has to be integrated into the city’s overall transportation strategy. This means, for starters, the inclusion of appropriate bike lanes and efforts to make motorists more aware of bicyclists.

Otherwise, more bicyclists on the road could easily lead to many more bicycle accidents.

The original plan for the bike-sharing program was to start rolling it out this summer. The goal was to then expand it by next summer so that it involved 10,000 bikes and 600 stations.

The revised plan is for the bike-share program to launch in March of next year. It is supposed to include 7,000 bikes available for rent at 420 locations.

The city intends to rely on private funds from Citi to sponsor the program. The program will be operated by Alta Bicycle Share, with which New York City has a contract.

The delay in beginning the program is being attributed to software problems that Alta is having.

Alta has also run into delays in other cities that have been planning similar bike-sharing programs. Chicago, for example, has also announced that it will delay the beginning of its program until next spring.

Source: “Bike Share Delayed Until Spring, Mayor Says,” New York Times, Matt Flegenheimer, 8-17-12

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