In effort to make New York City more "biker friendly", Mayor Bloomberg has ordered 10,000 bicycles to be distributed among 600 bike racks throughout Manhattan and some areas of Brooklyn by next summer. The bikes will be part of a share plan that allows users to pick up and drop off the loaner bikes at the various racks at an affordable rate.
City officials say that the idea has worked great in cities like Paris and Washington, D.C., but many people in New York City are skeptical, citing the dangerous conditions on many city streets.
"New York is not Paris," a spokesman from AAA New York said. "Our roads are lousy with many irregular pavement conditions and other problems - potholes and irregular pavement and other things that can swallow a bicycle or a bicycle tire and send a rider flying."
New York City's transportation commissioner refuted these concerns, saying that the number of bikers in the city continues to grow, and the city's streets are safer than they have ever been.
However, expert bikers in the city know that it can be dangerous to take a bike out on the jam-packed roads. Cabs, potholes, car doors opening and flocks of pedestrians make New York's streets a force to be reckoned with and bikers need to be aware of this.
In fact, bikers who are just out for recreation are advised to use parks and trails instead of city streets. Bike experts also want to remind newcomers that helmets are a must when riding in the city.
With the new bike-share program, accidents are inevitable and the city could even be sued for exposing itself to this liability. But city officials have obviously deemed the risk to be worth the rewards.