As New York City prepares to launch their first public bike sharing program, Linus Bikes comments on the program itself and future bike sharing programs
by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Bohemia, NY : On August 16, City Bikes Manufacturer Linus Bikes commented on the first New York City bike sharing program called Citi Bike. Citi Bike is poised to launch with 7,000 strategically located rentable bicycles across parts of New York, making this the largest program to date in the United States. Following a recent expansion of city bike lanes, the program is designed to be an alternate form of travel for the millions of city residents who make daily use of mass transit.
As detailed by the BBC, New York City’s Department of Transportation estimates that half of the daily commutes in the city are less than 2 miles. With an initial launch of 7000 bikes and 420 stations, Citi Bike is placing rental stations in areas with “heavy foot traffic, like Grand Central Station.” The program will initially be focused on lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, with the city already planning a large expansion for 2013. The rental bikes are “armored, high-tech velocipede drones; outfitted with GPS for trip tracking, front and rear lights that glow upon pedaling, heavy-duty tires and a thick frame.”
Linus Bikes representative China Reevers comments, “This is certainly one of the most ambitious bike sharing programs to date. New York has certainly done their homework, and introducing a fleet of bikes to the populace will hopefully add to the city’s clean air initiative, promoting a healthier option for a daily commute. This combination of a greener planet and healthier living is what Linus Bikes is all about.”
While the green movement continues to grow, cities are taking an increased interest in other transit options as other cities embrace bike sharing programs. Reevers adds, “Doubts about the viability of bike sharing programs should diminish as these programs gain popularity and expand. If New York’s Citi Bike program can prove to be successful, it should only pave the way for future bike sharing programs. Our bicycles aren’t only for commuting but they are to help encourage a healthy lifestyle.”
Linus Bikes is a California-based bicycle manufacturer that specializes in creating vintage style city bikes and commuter bikes. Not simply a bicycle company, Linus Bikes sells a complete line of accessories for the environmentally conscious and for those who have a fondness for European style bicycles and the great tradition of European cycling.
As usual, it would seem, America is very much hanging behind Europe, even the UK, in creating cycle hire schemes for use by people in a particular city. They are a good idea, I am sure but... and here comes the but...
On the other hand while cycle rental schemes are a nice idea what we need more of in our cities and towns, and also along rural routes, are proper cycle paths in the way that they are implemented in many of the countries of continental Europe. Britain, alas, is missing them also, and this means that, aside from potential accidents, the takeup of such schemes is not going to be great, however good and cheap they may be.
Proper cycling infrastructure in urban and rural areas is what not just might but what will increase the use of bicycles instead of the car and that would also happen (again) in the USA.
A bicycle, especially if there are proper cycle lanes and paths, can cover distances in towns and cities much faster than any motorcar. The speed for the latter is, on average, in our cities and towns, well below that of a bike that is not even ridden fast.
That is the very reason why you see so many bicycles in use in the towns and cities in countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, etc. Those countries have created a special infrastructure for cycling and motorists also do not see cyclists as a menace, as they do in, for instance, Britain, where many motorists would like to get rid off cyclists on the roads.
We need cycle routes, cycle lanes and cycle paths all across our cities, towns and rural areas; paths that are separated from the motor traffic, as they are in many other places, and this is equally true for Britain as for the USA.
With the right infrastructure that will make cycling a pleasure and safe the uptake would skyrocket and even without it, though that shall not be an indication that it is not needed, we are seeing, in many parts of the UK, a constant increase in the use of bicycles for commuting, for running the kids to school, for going to the shops and for visiting friends.
Aside from keeping us fit a bicycle also has other benefits. It uses not gasoline or diesel, is non-polluting and does not need a parking space and with the latter getting ever more expensive, it saves money all round.