NYC Offers Bike Share System

by Leesa Raab

We at were really excited to learn that New York City recently got approval to adopt a new “transit system,” as a bike share system will be implemented next year. This is basically ZipCar for cyclists, as those who pay the fee will be able to pick up a bike from designated locations, bike to their destination and then return it to the nearest kiosk.

This changes transportation in NYC in many ways. For one, it might take some slack off of the overly crowded commute on the subways. One of my coworkers instantly said she would start biking to work once this system is in place, giving her relief from often packed and delayed 4 and 5 line trains.

Additionally, it will of course take some pressure off of the planet if more people start biking around town, as it will downgrade the energy needed to transport 7 million people around this city by train, bus and cab. And, as an added bonus, it will also add a little extra cardio to our daily routines.

The program will be run by the NYC DOT, which is giving New Yorkers the opportunity to request locations for the bike stations (Wall St., please!). Through this system, solar-powered, self-service stations will be planted all around the city, offering up 10,000 bikes around the clock.

One thing to keep in mind is that the bikes will not be equipped with helmets, so riders will need to invest in their own, as biking around NYC without a helmet is definitely not recommended. Just ask my friend who picked up biking a couple years ago and didn’t see the necessity in a helmet until she almost  got ran over by one of the Olsen twins–true story!

The bike share system will offer yearly memberships for less than $100, which is cheaper than a monthly MetroCard. There will also be passes available to those who just want to use the bikes for a day or a week at a time. They expect the system to  be in place by summer 2012, but in the meantime, you can receive updates by following @NYCityBikeshare on Twitter.

New York City isn’t the first to come up with such a novel idea–cities like Denver, Washington D.C. and Portland already have bike share systems in place.

I haven’t actually ridden a bike (unless you count cycle class) for over six years, so now I just have  to figure out if the old saying “once you learn to ride a bike, you never forget” is actually true!

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