Bike Sharing for NYC

Bike sharing is coming to the Big Apple, and New Yorkers are excited! This is not completely fresh news, but is still very exciting. The other weekend, Kristin and I went to check out the system. Alta, the company that will be installing and managing the bike share, and the New York Department of Transportation were hosting a live demo on Atlantic street. For less than $100, you can become a member and use the shared bikes at no charge all year around. Ride times will be limited to 30-45 minutes to encourage short commutes rather than using the bike to the explore the city all day. The city aims to co-exist with the thriving bike rental businesses that are currently in New York, rather than overriding them. In my opinion, the system seems quite impressive. It’s been rolled out in multiple cities including Boston, DC and Melbourne, and for the most part has been a success.

But, we had two main questions. What about the helmets? And, what are you doing to help guide people that don’t normally bike around the city? Our reason for asking these questions is because we’re exploring a helmet as the physical interface with a digital bike companion. With that, one of our main intentions is to help people better discover the cities in which they live via bike.

Because New York does not mandate bicycle helmets, the bike share system will not require riders to wear them. Though, they may offer some kind of discount to help people purchase their own helmets. As for helping riders find their way around the city, each docking station will have a cycling map posted.

Undoubtedly, potential lies in considering a product that can be used by bike sharers (New Yorkers and tourists) and regular commuters alike. There is yet to come a good solution for helmets and guiding discovery within the current bike share systems.

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