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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bike Share’s Rough Ride | NY Times

IT’S been a year since Citi Bike started in New York City, and the program has been a tremendous success, with more than 100,000 annual members and over seven million trips to date. Or, if you prefer, in Citi Bike’s first year, the program has struggled financially and is in urgent need of tens of millions of dollars.
Both are true, so take your pick.
The story of bike share in New York City has been one of contradiction and antagonism, even before its inception:
“$10 to ride a bike? That’s for rich people!”
“A bike share station in front of my building? How is the doorman supposed to hail me a cab?”
By the time the program was ready to roll, the calamitous prognostications came pell-mell. This town’s too tough for bike share! The streets would run red with the blood of hapless tourists and the helmetless! All 6,000 bikes would be stolen by America’s most industrious bike thieves!
None of these predictions came to pass. In our egotistic frenzy, we had forgotten a few things, such as that the average person can ride a bike just fine, tourists aren’t as hapless as we think they are and bike thieves aren’t interested in stealing big, clunky bikes equipped with GPS trackers. We had assumed a kind of New York exceptionalism, when similar bike share programs were already running successfully in Paris, London and Washington. [Keep reading at NY Times]
Photo
CreditOscar Bolton Green

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