Unscientific Survey Says: 100 Percent of New Yorkers Support Bike-Share

At today’s big bike-share press conference, most reporters seemed enthralled by the prospect of thousands of new cyclists hitting the streets and, of course, failing to follow the rules of the road (whether they were scared of that scenario or salivating over it is not clear). One reporter also told us she was “just scouting out possible angry people.” But the passersby drawn to the enormous crowd and brightly-colored bikes in front of the Flatiron Building didn’t seem worried or angry at all.

The scene leading up to today's bike-share announcement. Photo: Ben Fried

In Streetsblog’s unscientific sample of five New Yorkers who stopped to see what was happening, none was concerned about bike bedlam. Every single one of these pedestrians was excited to see bike-share come to New York.

“I knew they were doing this, but I didn’t realize they were doing it right here,” said an excited Melissa Singer, who works in the Flatiron building. When informed that the bike-share station was just for a press conference and might not end up at that very spot, Singer remained positive about the program, saying that it’ll be perfect for people who don’t want to invest in owning their own bike or want access to one all the time. “It’s one of those ‘about time’ things for the city,” she said.

Lionel Mapp III hadn’t heard of bike-share before today, but after a brief explanation said he’d definitely try it on days when there’s heavy traffic. “If people need to go a short distance, it would be better than jumping in a cab.”

Jim Morgan stopped to look while walking his dog along Broadway. He said he’d take bike-sharing for quick trips, such as from Madison Square to Central Park, especially thanks to its low cost. “For 104 bucks or less a year, you can’t beat it,” he said.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” said Geoff Jones. He saw bike-share thrive in London and thinks it would be a perfect fit for New York, especially for tourists. “If you come to New York, there’s so few bike rental options.”

There’s no doubt that from now through at least the first few months of operations for bike-share, a cacophony of complainers will have every opportunity to explain what they don’t like about bike-sharing to a receptive media. But the truth is that big majorities of New Yorkers support cycling, and people like Singer, Mapp, Morgan and Jones are always looking for an easier way to get around their city. We’ll see whether voices like theirs get the play they deserve.

One person who declined to give her name had an even simpler review of the new program: “Yay bikes.”

  • Geoffreyhall

    Great to see some Ottawa Capitale Bixis!

  • Danny G

    Are the bikes really inter-compatible like that? Can you ride a Bixi all the way from Boston or DC to NYC and then dock it? I mean, I’d opt for the train or the Chinatown bus, but that’s still pretty sweet.

  • carma

    actually, i have one complaint about the bike share.  what took them so long.  this is so awesome, we should have had this a long time already

  • HA ha, good point about “unscientific” — but quite often I feel that criticism related to NYCDOT is “either your with us, or you’re with the terrorists”: Terrorists being stupid, selfish people who would sue to stop a bike path being implemented or to have it removed. 

    There is a lot of in-between and very imperfect solutions (e.g. paths on one-way Avenues which just encourage riding against traffic – perhaps better is going back to a two-way grid) and sometimes I feel that at least publicly the people who should be doing some objective analysis (e.g. Streetfilms and Transportation Alternatives) are looking forward to the day when certain people in DOT are in command of even higher offices.So, during this – thankfully – long period of research and testing to see what will work best given the selection of this technology and operator I hope everyone realizes that “criticism is love” (quoting or misquoting Mao).

  • Anonymous

    @DannyG: I’ve sent an email to Alta asking them to make the docking keys cross compatible so you can take a Boston key and use it to check out bikes in DC/NYC/MRL and vice versa. I hope they agree. 

  • James Lawlor

    When montreal’s system launched, Bixi said that the keys would be compatible from one system to the next. Theoretically, a Montreal key can work with a Boston, Minneapolis, New York, London, Ottawa, and Toronto base station – they all use the same hardware. I haven’t heard anything recently from Bixi or Alta if you can or not however. It would be great when on holiday or on business to be able to use your hometown key!

  • I don’t like the idea.  I suspect it will seriously interfere with parking for city resident riders who already own their own bicycles.  I suspect this creates a bicycle monopoly.  It will kill small bike shops.  It creats a conflict of interest for the city who will their policy favor: owner-operators or this company?  Furthermore, serious riders, just like regular motorists, prefer their own bikes and for good reason: cyclists vary much more than motorists in ability and expecxtations. 

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