NYC's Citi Bike: logic / by Tom Oliver Payne


Scrolling through Facebook recently I came across a page promoting New York City’s new Citibike program (below). Looking through the comments I saw an incredible amount of anger towards the scheme. These arguments are based on purely selfish reasons (ie. have to walk 10 metres further to your parked car). There is zero logic in arguing against something that improves the health of citizens, as well as the economy and environment of the city as a whole.

In a time of rapidly increasing CO2 emissions, severe traffic congestion and record-high obesity levels, how can people really complain about losing their parking spaces to a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable alternative?

One comment from the Facebook post reads, “I’m praying that this is just a summer thing. To take up parking spaces and replace them with bikes was illogical. They should of been placed elsewhere”.

Image: Facebook/NYC: The official guide
Image: Facebook/NYC: The official guide

Uhhhh… Elsewhere? Like in front of your neighbour’s house instead? It’s such a shame that you have to walk 10 more metres to your car each morning. It’s also such a shame that dozens of people now get to ride a bike from your street each morning and in doing so; relieving congestion, cleaning the air and saving the city money. Yeah, what an incredible illogical thing to do.

Here are a few facts:

  1. Recently an Australian policy statement indicated that every trip made by bicycle saved the economy $21
  2. Commuters cycling to work and school in Copenhagen save the economy 2 billion DKK in health costs
  3. Bicycles exhume zero greenhouse gas emissions compared with 42 g per km for a car (apart from manufacturing production, which is still a tenth less than car production)
  4. A bicycle takes up far less room on the road, leaving streets more liveable, less dangerous and more aesthetically pleasing.
  5. Riding a bike will also make you more attractive. I made that one up, but it’s probably true.

Next time you hear someone complain about bikes, bike share schemes or bike paths, spurt out a few facts and teach them how to drop a few kilos. :) 

The space of 60 commuters. Image source unknown.
The space of 60 commuters. Image source unknown.

Check out this clip of one of my favourite bmx street riders cruising about on one of NYC's Citi Bikes. Love it.

Feature image courtesy Brad Aaron.