New York launches
bike-share scheme

| 20 comments

New York launches bike-share scheme

News: America's largest bicycle sharing scheme will begin this month in New York City, with 6000 bikes available to rent from docking stations in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

The scheme, dubbed Citi Bike after its multi-million-dollar sponsorship from Citibank, will invite commuters and tourists to take advantage of New York's 700 miles of cycle lanes.

The May launch will see bikes placed in 330 docking stations across the city, spanning from 59th Street in Manhattan down to the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn.

City officials plan to eventually expand the scheme to 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Thousands of New Yorkers have already signed up as Citi Bike members, paying an annual fee of $95 for access to unlimited rides of 45 minutes.

Cyclists who don't have a membership will be able to purchase a 24-hour pass for about $10, or a seven-day pass for $25, allowing an unlimited number of half-hour trips.

New York launches bike-share scheme, photo by Planetgordoncom

The three-speed aluminium-frame Citi Bike has front and rear LEDs that flash when the wheels are in motion and an adjustable seatpost to accommodate riders of different heights.

Both the bikes and docking stations are part of a system called Bixi, which was first developed by French Canadian designer Michel Dallaire as a cycle-share scheme for Montreal.

Citi Bike app will also help cyclists to locate their nearest docking station, plan their route on a map and find local shops, services and restaurants.

The launch follows the successful roll-out of bike-share schemes in cities including London, Washington D.C., Paris and Barcelona, while Chicago and San Francisco are both preparing to launch their own schemes later this year.

French designer Philippe Starck recently unveiled a prototype bicycle crossed with a scooter for a free cycle scheme in Bordeaux, France.

Other city bikes we've featured include an folding electric bicycle by auto maker BMW and another folding bike with full-sized wheels – see all bicycles on Dezeen.

  • sor perdida

    Good morning, Mr. Bloomberg!

  • Ginette Tremblay

    Do we need to say the design was originally made for the bike-sharing system Bixi in Montreal, Canada, by the designer Michel Dallaire? The success was so great that in cities like London, Chicago, Melbourne, Boston and now New York, it’s always the same design. Too bad that this article didn’t notice that.

    • dezeen_intense

      Hi Ginette,

      Thanks for tipping us off on that – we've now amended the story to include that detail.

      Emilie/Dezeen

    • future architect

      Thanks, but they are horrible to ride as its proved in London. But thanks nonetheless.

  • recon::decon

    Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC has been running since September 2010. I know New York likes to think that DC is a third world city and everything, but this isn’t exactly groundbreaking territory or anything. They are literally the same bike model!

    DC – 1, NY – 0.

    • boooo

      It wasn’t exactly groundbreaking in Washington either, so it’s more like Montréal 2, DC 0, NY 0 ;)

      • recon::decon

        Comment was made before original article was amended to include Bixi, which I admit I did not know about. I’m glad though we can collectively point out that New York is pretty late to the game with the bikeshare system.

  • philipp

    Bloomberg bike doesn’t have the same ring to it as Boris bike.

  • iag

    Maybe we could concentrate on the simple fact that this means more and more people are cycling – which can only be a positive thing, particularly in the US where the car has reigned as king for a long time.

    • recon::decon

      While I do agree with this – more people biking is great – the issue that has yet to be addressed with the bike share systems is safety. Rarely do riders walk around with their own bike helmets so hundreds of people are riding around with no bike helmets in cities that are not always bike safe.

      Additionally, I find that many of the riders not only on the bike shares, but in general, are frankly oblivious to the rules of the road and bike through the city with complete disregard to other cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. It would be great if somehow instructions for basic bike safety were implemented into the bike share system.

      • Chris

        Actually, I was reading in the London Evening Standard last week that a study into the Barclay’s bike scheme showed that users of the scheme were about 3 times less likely to be involved in a road accident, primarily because motorists gave the bike users more room, what with them obviously being novice bike riders.

        I can’t commend these schemes enough. The number of cyclists in London has indisputably gone up since the inception of the scheme and I hope the same applies to NY; however I would point out that NY motorists do seem more irresponsible than London motorists.

      • Kris

        Word about town is that there is a disposable helmet being designed as we speak. Cycle share, albeit not new to the world, is new to major cities around the world and the system will always improve and evolve as new technologies come to light.

        Give it time.

      • iag

        Cyclists are rarely a danger to pedestrians, particularly tourists doing 4mph on a hired bicycle. Motorists are the ones who need more training and awareness for cyclists and pedestrians.

        As Chris points out below, I’ve yet to see/hear of a single accident for anyone on a ‘Boris Bike’ – in part because everyone else keeps clear of them, but quite likely also because of the design of the bikes being quite heavy and basic, which dictates how most people use them.

  • john

    Lovely. But the colour scheme is nauseating. One would have thought a city like NYC would have put greater thought into something like that. Think I’ll appreciate the Boris bike more now.

    • MapDark

      What colour should have been used in your mind?

      Something subtle like the silver ones in Montreal or the dark ones in London?

      I mean, at least they’re not bright fluorescent green like the Minneapolis ones. XD

    • recon::decon

      Corporate sponsorship at work. You wouldn’t expect a bike share system sponsored by Citi Bank to be any other colour would you?

  • gion

    The bike sharing scheme in Vienna kicked off in 2003.
    http://www.wien.gv.at/english/transportation-urba

    Membership is one Euro only (once)!

    Probably the best I have seen so far. Absolutely rigid and easy to handle.

    • MapDark

      I bet the cycle scheme in Vienna is completely city-owned and public. That would explain how they could function with a membership of 1 euro.

  • Gabriel

    America starts in Alaska and finishes in Patagonia. In between there is a sharing bicycle system larger than that. Be careful when you say America.

  • http://oscARTist.com Oscar Alvarado

    San Antonio has had a bike share system in place for a few years now. B-Cycle is successful and ever expanding in this historic city.