City Announces Expansion of Protected Bike Lanes and Electric Citi Bikes Return

An electric Citi Bike.

Electric Citi Bikes were pulled off the streets last year after some were found to have malfunctioning brakes that caused some people to launch over the handlebars.

The bikes have since been upgraded, and starting Wednesday were reintroduced to stations in the city. These e-bikes need no special training — the electricity starts up as you pedal. Citi Bike members are charged 10 cents per minute extra to use them, with charges capped at $2 if the ride starts or finishes outside Manhattan. Electric bikes show up on the Citi Bike map with a lightning bolt next to them.

The city also announced it will add 10 miles of protected bike lanes in Manhattan. That includes finishing the Central Park West lane, which currently runs from 59th to 77th Street. That section of the lane was built quickly in the fall, before the city stopped construction.

Upper West Siders will also benefit from a lane that’s being completed on 6th Avenue between Central Park and Herald Square — a key link for people heading uptown on 6th who want more protection for cars.

NEWS | 30 comments | permalink
    1. Lance Notsostrong says:

      Environmentally conscious Upper West Siders riding bikes delivered by diesel belching trucks and powered by electricity which I guess comes from the magic non-polluting electric tree.

      76% of New yorkers will never ride a bike according to NYC’s own study and only 1.8% use them to commute. Who are they building this for?

      • Minx says:

        For the 24% who do ride and the 1.8% who use them to commute.

        This comment is so West Side Rag it’s not even funny.

    2. lcnyc says:

      Fantastic. Queue the anti-bicycle lunatics in 3…2…1…

      • Juan says:

        Rather than lunatics, it is those who think that bikes are a good thing but a good thing is going a little too far. As biking grows, there needs to be more vigorous enforcement of proper biking habits, including speed regulation, stopping at lights, not going the wrong way in a one way bike lane, etc.

        There is already too much traffic in the city and it isn’t going anywhere, as hard as we might try, at least until flying drones start doing deliveries. I think we are reaching (or beyond) the critical mass of bike lanes at which it is really creating more traffic and causing problems.

        • Justin says:

          The Death and Life of Great American Cities presents a compelling argument that discouraging traffic in favor of alternative uses of streets (bikes, wider sidewalks) actually _does_ decrease overall vehicle use in the city. If we reduce benefits for passenger vehicles in favor of commercial vehicles and space-efficient transport (buses, bikes), it proposes that we can have less congestion and more lively street life.

          Data points:
          – Widening the avenues decreased bus use.
          – Removing the cut-through in Washington Square Park decreased through traffic to Thompson Street without increasing traffic on neighboring avenues. It just disappeared because people chose not to drive.

      • CAL says:

        Cue the car-haters.

      • Nevets K says:

        More lambs to the slaughter, whether there are more “protected bike lanes” or fewer.
        NYC is a congested, competitive, commercially driven city.
        The grand experiment is not working out: bike rider deaths have been increasing.
        You may argue that the solution is more “protected bike lanes.” I would argue this is persistence of error.
        How many deaths will it take for the delusion to shatter?

      • SM says:

        Why is it always the “Anti-cyclist lunatics” … this is not a zero sum game which is how it is being positioned.
        Why can’t cars and cyclists co-exist?
        If the intent is to make it safer and sue the space better, the CPW approach makes zero sense. The space is NOT used 90+% of the time what with night times, weather, lack of cyclists, etc.
        How is this good use of the space?
        Why did they not implement the approach on Amsterdam and Columbus? This would provide the safety and preserve most of the parking (some spots would be lost)?

        It’s a knee jerk reaction which is resulting in a worse solution for everyone.

        • Dan says:

          The CPW bike lane is used by hundreds of cyclists daily. The reason it looks empty is that the lane can accommodate the bike traffic. Ever seen a bike traffic jam? Didn’t think so. Meanwhile the cars in NYC crawl along, using up all available road space as they go.

        • tmack101 says:

          I rode my bike home in the bike lane on CPW, ONCE. It was a death trap. Pedestrians standing in the lane, taxis cutting you off to pull over in the middle of an intersection, bus drop off and pick up, cars jockeying for parking. I swore never to ride it again. I will now reconsider with a protected lane.

      • Ethan says:

        I equate the pro-bike lunatics with Bernie-Bros. They are ruining it for everyone. (PS I hate cars too.)

    3. ST says:

      Just what no one needed. More bike lanes and more electric bikes to terrorize pedestrians, regular bike riders and drivers alike.
      Electric bikes should have never been legalized in the first place. Riders go forty miles an hour the wrong way on bike lanes, streets and sidewalks alike. Even when they do drive the correct way in a bike lane they rush up behind bikes scaring the bejebus out of bicyclists. Hiw ironic that vision zero requires all cars to drive 25 mphz. Electric bikes don’t even have license plates. And riders don’t wear identifying vests so you can’t report their recklessness. A friend was just hit by an electric bike going the wrong way. All these bikes lanes because as Yaruss loves to screech bikers have been killed!!!! Yet no one cares about the incredible danger posed by electric bikes.

      Do community board members and councilpeople have eyes that see or common sense? No.
      There should be a city-wide popular referendum on whether the people want bike lanes and electric bikes.
      We cannot trust our “representatives” to actually represent us.

      • Big Nate says:

        This is wrong on so many levels. First of all – electric bikes cannot go 40mph. That is a ridiculous hyperbole. Most of them top out at 30mph and few even reach that.Here are the stories of all the cyclists killed by motor vehicles in 2019:
        Many of these are due to the lack of protected bike lanes. Streets should be prioritized for mass transit and alternative transit options (specifically walking and biking). Designing streets this way has been shown to decrease traffic, not increase it, because people instead choose not to drive. Look at the 14th Street Busway. Remember everyone yelling about how it was going to be a traffic apocalypse down there? The project is a massive success, and did not cause a traffic fiasco. Would love to see it employed on 42nd St next.
        Anyways: here is the article for all of the pedestrians killed by cyclists in 2019:
        Oh, wait. There is no article. Because N O B O D Y died from getting hit by a bike last year. I attribute this to the fact that bikes are not nearly as dangerous as cars. Like…not even remotely close. Next you’re going to scramble, talking about how they are always running red lights and almost hitting you! I walk and bike in this city A LOT and the only time I have ever come close to hitting someone was when they were standing in the bike lane waiting to cross. I live on an extremely busy street with a bike lane and delivery drivers going the wrong way, etc. and have not once had a close call. There is nothing wrong with a biker rolling through a red if nobody is there, same as it is fine to jaywalk. Oh, also 117 people were killed by CARS last year. Here are the official stats from NYCDOT:
        8 People 2004-2018 killed by bikes, 2205 killed by cars. Stop using anecdotal evidence to hurt positive changes.

    4. drg says:

      “”Riders go forty miles an hour the wrong way on bike lanes,…””
      Incorrect. The ebike assist cuts out completely if the bike goes more than 20 MPH. I am NOT referring to the illegal restaurant delivery bikes which are NOT assist bikes, but can power continuously. the citibike ones only kick in while the rider is actively pedalling… and then cut out completely when coasting.
      If you see a ridiculously heavy Citibike going 40 MPH please take a video and post it.

    5. Paul says:

      Citibike needs to be re-thought. It’s become a luxury commuter alternative for people in nice weather. And on those days it’s as useless for those who need it for local use (like getting to a doctor) as it is on a day when it’s pouring rain.

      Bike commuters should be “encouraged” to use their own bikes.
      -Citibike should be zoned and additional charges should be assessed for those who ride over several zones.
      -And our Pro-Bike Community Board should be lobbying for more bike parking in the central business district and financial district, to enable more people who bike to work to take their own bikes.

      The idea that we “need” more Citibikes in our community because all the bikes are gone by 8 AM on nice days is nonsense. It’s like saying we “need” more roads because of traffic to the beach on a weekend day when it’s 85 degrees and sunny.

      • Jay says:

        You must not be looking around.. I see lots of people using citibikes in not great weather. Even today, most stations are empty before 9 AM.

        Sounds like a good argument for more Citibike stations in the neighborhood; not less.

      • stu says:

        I have spoken with Citibike about the dearth of bikes on the UWS in the warmer months. Their response is that they are working on better balance, but ultimately Citibike is — as you say — not a full replacement of public transportation, but a supplement. They told me that most rides from the UWS are less than 15 minutes (they track all this) which means that they are generally being used for short-distance trips – not being used to, say, ride all the way downtown. Also, the 45-minute limit is in effect provides a multi-zone fee.

        • Paul says:

          Try finding a citibike on the UWS at 10 AM on a weekday between June and September.

          • stu says:

            Impossible. Thats why I complained and contacted them. Its the same story for people I know who commute into Penn Station. By 9:30, there are no bikes.

            • Paul says:

              600,000 people use Penn Station every day, there are about 200 Citibikes in that area. The comparison is absurd.

              Your answer vis a vis the UWS is all that’s needed.

    6. BB says:

      We need a decent subway, esp fixing the signal system. Ferries, ebikes, protected bike lanes and such are transportation cotton candy, rather than addressing less visible issues that are much more important for many more New Yorkers; esp those who can’t afford to live in the UWS.

      • Chase says:

        These function are not mutually exclusive, particularly since none of the modes of transportation you mentioned are administered by the same agencies: The subways are run by the MTA, a state agency; The bike lanes by the NYC DOT; The ferries by the city’s economic development corporation; and, Citibike by Lyft, a private company.

    7. Diane D says:

      This is ALL good … now that I am a regular bike rider I appreciate so much the efforts of all the regulators to keep us safe. Bike riding gives you a whole new way of seeing the city and helps keep New Yorkers active – it should be encouraged.

    8. Wendy says:

      All electronic motor vehicle drivers need to have a license and insurance.
      You cannot step out on the UWS without encountering a wheeled vehicle going in the wrong direction, on a sidewalk, against the traffic light or sone other terrorizing behavior. Expanding bicycle lanes and approving of electronic bikes should have the corresponding laws and enforcement to keep pedestrians and other vehicles safe

    9. Wendy says:

      I think you mean to write “for people who want more protection FROM car” in your last sentence?

      Good news nonetheless since that is a major commutation route for people who ride bikes to work in midtown. I remember back when Koch was Mayor, there was actually a bike lane on the west side of 6th Ave, protected with huge cement barriers that ran from 42nd St. to 59th St. It was removed after too many complaints from business. Only took 40 years for it to come back.