Published on January 7th, 2016 | by Steve Hanley


NYC Citi Bike Program Served Up 10 Million Rides In 2015

January 7th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on New Year’s Eve that his city’s bicycle sharing network, known as Citi Bike, was used by riders 10 million times in 2015. There are currently 7,500 bicycles in the system, which added 2,400 bikes and 138 new docking stations throughout the city during the past year. It plans to have 12,000 bikes and more than 700 docking stations by the end of 2017. Usage in 2015 was up 24% from 2014, when a little more than 8 million trips were made.

NYC-Bike-Share-programThe mayor claims Citi Bike had more riders last year than any other bike sharing program in the United States. It now ranks “on par with the largest bike share systems in the Western hemisphere,” he says. “There have been nearly 9 million trips taken on Mexico City’s similarly sized EcoBici bike share in 2015,” the mayor’s office said in a statement, “and London’s larger Santander Cycle Hire was on pace for 9,943,074 trips in 2015.”  Citi Bike ridership exceeded 50,000 trips on 7 days during 2015.

According to Take Part, a bicycle advocacy group, New York City officials have praised the Citi Bike system for the way it has  helped curb car traffic and increase physical activity among residents since it began in 2013. A study in Washington. DC in 2015 found that bike share programs are capable of reducing traffic congestion by 2-3%. Cities across North America are promoting bike sharing as a way to keep some vehicles from driving into the city.

Bike sharing does have one issue that needs to be solved, however. Many riders choose to pedal along without a helmet because it is easier than toting one everywhere they go. Helmet sharing is one option, but another is a lightweight helmet made from recycled newspaper that retails for about $1.50. It is waterprooof for up to 6 hours. If you ride longer than that in the rain, you may want to seek professional help!

Calculating how much congestion and pollution bike sharing avoids is difficult, because there is little data showing how often riders substitute using a bicycle for going by car.  “Many people using bike-share programs in denser cities are only avoiding public transit rather than avoiding driving a car, muting the CO2 benefits of bike-share programs,” reported Climate Central in 2014. On the other hand, “in less dense cities, bike sharing is used as a way to connect people to public transit, which would enhance the climate benefit.”

Whatever the data may or may not suggest, getting some exercise outdoors has got to be better than riding in a 2 ton steel cocoon while tweeting and hooking up with friends on social media.

Reprinted with permission.

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About the Author

writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter. "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." Elie Wiesel

  • disqus_XxS2HEo18P

    Bikes have impact on health – look st bike crazy countries like The Netherlands. It is the only European country which is not facing obesity epidemic in the coming decades

  • Bruce

    “Bike sharing does have one issue that needs to be solved, however.” [CITATION MISSING]
    Any evidence to support this. If the risk is similar to walking or driving are we advocating helmets for those situations?
    What about showering or using ladders where the risk of head injuries are much higher?

    • baklazhan

      With ten million trips this year, they should be able to put together some pretty thorough statistics on exactly how dangerous riding bikeshare bikes without helmets is, compared to other activities. I suspect it’s pretty safe, but it would be interesting to see.

      • addicted4444

        We already have some pretty decent statistics. (1) Mandatory helmet laws actually increase injuries and reduce safety. The reason is pretty simple. The greatest factor increasing biking safety is density (i.e. the more bikers, the more safe you are, partly because more bikers encourages drivers to keep their distance, and because it normalizes biking, making drivers more accustomed to driving around them). Mandatory helmet laws discourage biking, making it more unsafe.

        2) Helmets reduce head injuries, but possibly increase overall injuries, due to providing a false sense of security.

        While helmets receive a disproportional amount of focus from the media, the reality is any benefits they may have, are pretty marginal. If you look to the cities which have widespread safe biking, the number one factor is always better street design. A well connected network of separated bike lanes is the best way to increase biking, as well as increase safety not just for bikers, but also for pedestrians.

  • Riding bikes is great, but will be greater when you aren’t breathing in the toxic fumes of all the ICEs around you.

    • Indeed!

    • Senlac

      Ya, I live in Boston, have no car, and ride to work. Buses are the worst, thick black diesel fumes coming out, I just pull to the side and let things clear. Electric buses please…

      • At least all the buses in El Paso, TX are Natural Gas. Bad from a CO2 emissions standpoint, but few particulates, smell, and other emissions

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