Bike Bedlam: The Next Generation

If Mayor Has His Way, Massive 'Bike Share' Program Coming

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — No bicycle? No problem.

New York may flood the city streets with thousands of inexpensive rental bikes, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

Supporters say pedal power will improve the environment and riders’ health, but others fear it’ll add to the “bike bedlam” in the Big Apple.

Imagine a plan to add almost 50,000 additional bikes to New York City.

“Well, if there’s less cars – I think people would like it,” one resident said.

“Oh, I think it would be a great plan – for idiots,” said another.

Well, some very smart people think it would be brilliant. The Bloomberg administration is looking at a plan to bring a “bike share” program to the five boroughs.

Denver, Colo., rolled out it’s bike share in April, with 400 bikes. You can pick one up at a kiosk in one part of the Mile High City, ride to your heart’s content, and then drop it off at any other kiosk – and all for just $5 a day.

The New York City bike share proposal would begin with 10,500 bikes, and quickly expand to 49,000 two-wheelers.

“It’s going to create more havoc!” a New Yorker who opposed the plan said.

“Get people out of cars, onto the streets and onto bikes,” said a supporter.

For all the complaints about rogue bike riders, the city says the dramatic reshaping of roads to accommodate riders is calming traffic.

“We are doing everything we can to design safer, better-performing streets,” NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.

Sadik-Khan said what’s happened in the Bowery is typical. After a car lane was eliminated and travel lanes for bicycles were added near Allen and Delancey streets, pedestrian injuries dropped 54 percent compared to the six prior years.

“If you ride the bike on the sidewalk, you can hit a kid or an old person or somebody – that’s just not fair,” Prospect Park resident Michael Regent said. “It’s fair to bikers that they give us our own lane. I live by bike.”

Critics see the biking expansion, though, and wonder: where’s the enforcement?

“This is a public safety issue – cut and dried – and it’s being ignored,” Jack Brown, of the Coalition Against Rogue Riding, said.

It was ignored Thursday morning, when CBS 2 saw four bikers going against traffic, rolling right past NYPD officers in the Bowery.

Wednesday night in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, a wrong-way rider hit a pedestrian.

“I saw the guy bleeding like crazy,” Williamsburg resident Shia Klein said. “It was awful to see it.”

Seven minutes later, a second wrong-way rider hit a second pedestrian.

Rolling down Bedford Avenue, CBS 2 saw a delivery rider who was supposed to be wearing a helmet. He, too, was riding the wrong way.

The driver’s manager, Sam Weiss, told CBS 2 that he’ll double-check DOT rules, and tell his delivery riders to follow them.

With the city working hard to further expand biking, critics wish it would also further expand enforcement – and education.

The city says despite quality complaints about rogue bike riders, New York City streets have never been safer. Annual traffic deaths are down 35 percent since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office.

  • WCBS 880 Interview: NYC Urban Explorer Steve Duncan « CBS New York

    […] about making sure to avoid the third rail (and being run over by trains) while in the abandoned Bowery station on the J and Z […]

  • Nina In New York: The Dawn OF A New Error « CBS New York

    […] bicyclist buzzes your elbow when forty signs all over the place say “cyclists must dismount and yield to […]

  • Nina In New York: A Secret War Waged In The Parks of NYC (And Why It May Be All Your Fault) « CBS New York

    […] not political. And it’s not religious. It isn’t ethnic either, nor is it in any way about bike lanes (please don’t […]

  • Landmark Lawsuit Says NYC Worked With 'Radical' Bicycle LobbyistsCBS New York

    […] Trucks Be Forced To Use NYC Bike Paths? | Markowitz: Advocacy Groups Distorted Bike Lane Data | Bike Bedlam: The Next Generation | Bike Bedlam: Disturbing Cyclist Trends | Bike Bedlam: NYPD Goes After Bad […]

  • Battle Over Bike Lanes Comes To Hoboken, N.J.CBS New York

    […] 2 Gets Up Close And Personal With ‘Bike Bedlam’ | Bike Bedlam: Disturbing Cyclist Trends | Bike Bedlam: The Next Generation | Bike Bedlam: NYPD Goes After Bad […]

  • As People Jump On Bikes, Things Get Crowded | Clean Hippie

    […] Please don’t confuse us with delivery boys. They are insane. […]

  • September cycling « Caliban's Kitchen

    […] Biking as a way of commuting is certainly becoming a trend — even in New York. In fact, I was excited to hear that  the city is thinking about developing a bike-sharing program which could make doing short hops in the city completely bikeable. Modeled on the Paris Vélib’ program, Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s vision starts with 10,500 bikes available for rent which will eventually spread to 49,000 bikes. Here’s a link to the CBS news report that talks about it. […]

  • Advertisement spaces for bikes: the eco-mobility scheme that seduce our cities. | The Planet Friend : brown eyes, green views

    […] It takes a real momentum and can expand without limits anywhere in the world. NYC is thinking about adopting the same kind of system at a wide scale!! Source: CBS NY […]

  • New York hat bald 50.000 Leihräder – Das größte Mietrad-System weltweit | Bike-Blog

    […] laufen: Leihräder von der Stadt. Nun soll New York mal wieder alles in den Schatten stellen. Bürgermeister Bloomberg plant ein Mietrad-System mit bis zu 50.000 Fahrrädern, mehr als in jeder anderen Stadt auf der […]

  • Just

    I completely support a bike friendly NYC complete with lanes and traffic lights. Cheap bike rentals seem very cool. Barcelona, Spaion and Hangzhou, China implement this. Though it’ll be hard to change the psycho driving mindset of drivers in NY. It would be a welcome change and probably would convince me enough to ride my longboard in the city without fearing for my life or to become a quadriplegic.

    • RWordplay

      Just, just reminded me of long-and short-board riders, many of who ignore the laws of God and man. There are also in-line skaters who skate as if surrounded by a protective forcefield. Then there are parents and babysitters pushing carriages who blithely believe they enjoy special immunity from traffic laws and their implications. Soon I expect stilt-walkers to claim their right of way. Until we impose and enforce draconian traffic laws on drivers, riders and pedestrians alike, I recommend we leave things as they are and allow natural selection to sort things out.

  • Elliot Markson

    According to physics, Momentum = mass x velocity.

    Since cars weigh at least 100 times as much as bikes and go at last twice as fast in the City, cars delver over 200 times the Momentum and can do 200 times the damage.

    Even if drivers and bike riders were all equally incompetent and contemptuous of traffic rules, cars are still far more dangerous to other cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

  • pg812

    The proportion of drivers of motor vehicles who cause bedlam far exceeds that of bicyclists. Bring on the bikes.

  • RWordplay

    I wrote this almost a year ago and I’ve seen no improvement on the part of bicyclists, drivers of automobiles and trucks, or in the mindfulness of pedestrians.
    If anything, people’s behavior, (arrogance or indifference) has grown worse, now that streets are littered with parked bikes and decomposing bikes, stripped of their appendages and abandoned.

  • Lenny Waller

    With Mayor Bloomberg. Trying to change NY into a European City.
    He has done everything possible to stick it to the motorists after loosing his Pricing Plan for Cars & trucks into the City,
    Some estimates show more then 236,000 Bikes in use in the city. Daily
    Cars loose 2 traffic lanes to bike lanes. Causing slower traffic, harder parking, & more pollution.
    Cars, Busses, trucks, pay road use tax to the state & City, They pay licensing & registration fees. Can only be operated legally by a licensed person. And must carry insurance in case of property damage & personal injury.They must pass a Safety inspection.
    Bikes are supposed to obey traffic laws. But when they don;t they rarely are given a summons. They are not registered. They are not licensed. They don’t carry insurance. They Park where they want. They don’t get towed away.
    They hit you & ride off into the sunset.
    The Sitting malls disrupt traffic, cost money, & give undesirables a place to congregate after dark.
    WE don’t need new crossing signs that count the remaining seconds so Seniors & Children will try to race it. WE Need the Traffic Cop Back on those corners.

    The New Proposed Bike Share Program. Would add an immediate 10,500 bikes to the enormous # of bikes we have now. Eventually adding 49,000 More to Out City.

    The New York City bike share proposal would begin with 10,500 bikes, and quickly expand to 49,000 two-wheelers.
    There are no provisions for insurance when a bike is in an accident. There are no provisions that the rider is competent in traffic. There is no registration.
    This is New York, Not Paris or London.
    By the time Bloomberg is finished ruining the city. It will be beyond repair.

    Does the mayor believe it’s only his vision that counts? That the rest of New Yorkers are to Stupid to know what they want? And what is good for them?
    The Old Grumpy New Yorker,
    Lenny Waller

  • Noah

    All I have to say is THANK YOU MAYOR BLOOMBERG!!! ROCK ON!!!!!

  • Bill


    This is not true. Bike lanes, except where specified such as the new protected bike lane on Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, are uni-directional (one way) and flow in the same direction as vehicular traffic.

    Look the next time you see a bike lane, the painted “bicycle symbol” on the pavement will be facing the direction of traffic and will usually be accompanied by an arrow also facing the direction of traffic.

  • Sickofmorons

    Before CBS 2 News does a segment on people riding bikes the “wrong way” they should learn the laws. Using a bike lane, a bicyclist can travel in EITHER direction. If there is NO bike lane, the cyclist must follow all the rules of the road such as driving in the same direction as the flow of traffic. The images your station showed, were of people traveling against the flow of traffic, but in a bike lane. NOT AGAINST THE LAW. Pedestrians need to learn the law as well, so they don’t walk in front of a bicycle and hurt both themselves and the cyclist.

  • Rodin

    @ as

    Oh yes I can. There is NO distinction, as far as I can tell: delivery people, messengers, old ladies, parents with children on board, brats whose parents havent bothered to inform, bratys WITH their parents beside them, businessmen in suits, so-called “cyclists.” Same difference.

    Try and say anything to any of them and you get sent to perform an anatomically impossible act. THEY suffer the insult. Nasty attitude to complement their nasty ways.

    In places like Denmark, Holland and Japan, riders have manners, are educated and are law abiding. What New Yorkers sorely lack.

    Infrastructure, my butt! Entitlement!

    I’m sick of excuses. Come walk with my hip for a day (five years and $150,000 later). THEN we’ll talk!

    In the meantime, I’ll smile and walk by any time I see a “cyclist” sprawled on the pavement, road or sidewalk, to great satisfaction.

    Thank my lucky stars I’ve left.

  • Spokes | Local News Strikes a Sour Note on Cycling - City Room Blog -

    […] the tone of some local television coverage, notably by CBS’s Tony Aiello. His week-long series “Bike Bedlam” has focused primarily on the bad behavior of the city’s growing number of cyclists, which, […]

  • BikeAdman

    From last night’s screed:

    “This is a public safety issue – cut and dried – and it’s being ignored,” Jack Brown, of the Coalition Against Rogue Riding, said.

    Uhh, notice what the acronym would be for that organization? CARR!

  • as

    Rodin, you can’t apply that behavior to ALL cyclists. There are tens of thousands of cyclists in this city, the majority of them do not ride on the sidewalk or the wrong way.
    And I agree with Jeff, there needs to be a distinction made between cyclists and delivery people. I’m a cyclist, I ride to work, actually, I ride everywhere I go, I obey the traffic laws and I absolutely hate it when I see someone riding the wrong way, on a sidewalk or blowing through a red light especially without even looking or stopping, which doesn’t make it anymore legal, but at least then they aren’t being a complete jerk about their own and others’ safety. However that absolutely does not account for the majority of cyclists.
    The city just needs more education and they aren’t finished with building the infrastructure yet. If you look at cities like Copenhagen, they had the same issues as we’re having here when they first began building their bike infrastructure. It doesn’t happen overnight. People who are against it typically seem to be either just the type of people who hate change and want to make everyone else miserable and/or are seriously misinformed as to the actual statistics of bike/ped accidents…and I wonder why that would be CBS2!

  • MRB

    They’ll only be as liable as rental car companies. the rules of the road apply to everyone.

  • Streetsblog New York City » Today’s Headlines

    […] Mulling Bike-Share For NYC, Reports CBS2's Tony […]

  • Avid Cyclist with a Plan

    When you see a biker on the sidewalk, or riding against traffic – please feel free to knock them off of their bikes: it’s fun and the message will be received.

    • Avid New Yorker

      No worries AC – peds are already stepping into the paths of cyclists with regularity causing collisions. While you’re at it, feel free to punch the drivers who block crosswalks.

  • MinNY

    Here are sources – NYS DOT and NYS DMV:

    In 2008 (last year for full data) there were 10,873 pedestrian injuries and fatalities caused by motor vehicles in NYC. The same year, there were 51 bike-pedestrian injuries.

    And for the record, most bikers hate wrong-way riders. We call them bike salmon. They make riding much more dangerous for everyone. I wish businesses were fined when their delivery people rode the wrong way. But at the end of the video clip, there is a call for enforcement of ‘rogue riders’ when the closing video clip is of riders going the right way who have had to merge into traffic to move around a double-parked delivery vehicle.

  • Rodin

    No stats necessary. When you get run over by a deliveryman riding his bike on the sidewalk, like I did…, there’s an awakening. You hate these people.

    The EMS attendant taking information: most of the calls we respond to are bicycle related – bicycles on the sidewalk, bicycles against traffic, BICYCLES running lights.

    I say “Ban Bikes!” until they learn to behave.

  • RWordplay

    I wish people would cite their statistics otherwise they are worthless. Please cite sources, dates, periodicals, etc.

  • Ian Turner

    Automobiles injure 10,000 New Yorkers annually. Bicyclists, less than 100. When is CBS planning to produce a “Car Chaos” feature series?

  • jeff

    please distinguish between cyclists and delivery people.
    theres a real difference between recreational and commutter
    bicyclists on the one hand and workers who happen to use
    bicycles to “ride” three blocks to bring you your chicken and
    broccoli in garlic sauce. they are a nuisance.

  • RWordplay

    A year later, no meaningful change in the behavior of cyclists; if anything it’s gotten worse. See:

  • esb

    I’m sure more than half of pedestrian injuries by bicyclists are caused by pedestrians not paying attention! They see a car coming and they wait. Bicyclists? They think it’s some kind of joke! We can’t stop as quick as cars and if we’re going fast enough we too can be deadly. Use some common sense!

    • Joel

      Yeah, sure. I’m sure that accounts for all the bikers riding down the sidewalk like I see every day.

  • Demetri

    To select an isolated incident of a cyclist hitting a pedestrian belies the recently-released facts from the NYS DOT on the rate of pedestrian vs car and pedestrian vs biker collisions.
    Pedestrian injuries sustained citywide in collisions with bicyclists pale beside the more than 10,000 pedestrian injuries and deaths sustained each year in collisions with motorists. Sources: New York State DMV (motor vehicle injuries) and New York State DOT (bike injuries)

    One of the claims on Monday night’s “Bike Bedlam” segment that seemed off was reporter Tony Aiello’s assertion that “the city doesn’t keep a central database of bike versus pedestrian accidents.” The first reason it seemed skewed is that the number of bike-on-ped crashes causing injury is minuscule compared to the violence visited on New Yorkers by auto traffic. The second reason is that the state, not the city, is the authoritative source for traffic injury data.

    Getting up-to-date information about traffic crashes out of the state can indeed be maddeningly slow. CrashStat, the web site operated by Transportation Alternatives that shows the pedestrian and cyclist injury history of NYC streets and intersections, doesn’t have data more recent than 2005 for a reason. So on that score, street safety advocates would probably agree with Aiello 100 percent.
    It pretty much shreds the whole “Bike Bedlam” premise that pro-bike policies are putting pedestrians in danger.

    Taken from Streetsblog

  • Dane Cook

    In an average week four New Yorkers are killed by automobiles. You want bedlam? Take a look at the way motorists behave on NYC streets, you fing morons.

  • Dan P

    I suppose they’ll pay for litigation and injuries when some of these 50,000 bikes crash?

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live