Bicycling in New York: room for improvement

May 16, 2008

A recent trip to bicyle-peppered cities Copenhagen and Amsterdam got me thinking about the pedal possibilities in U.S. cities. Alas, New York, the country’s biggest city, has long way to go make biking easier, and that seems true in many other cities in the world’s largest motor fuel consumer.

As gasolinecope.jpg nears $4.00 a gallon throughout the country one might think that U.S. commuters would be jumping on their bikes. Evidently the prices aren’t high enough yet.

Here in New York, it’s Bike Moamster.jpgnth and though I live just 7 miles from my office in Times Square, I haven’t two-wheeled it in yet, though I did for years. Likely, I won’t any time soon because fighting traffic across the avenues isn’t appealing anymore.

Granted, NYC has made made biking improvements over the last decade, building and extending bicycle paths on Manhattan’s edges and keeping lanes open on most of its bridges, which offer spectacular river views. And New York City has plans to double the number of bike commuters by 2015 and add 200 miles of bike lanes by the end of the decade.

But bike lanes in the bustling parts of the island are probably used as much by darting cabs and other vehicles as much as people who pedal, which can make for a harrowing experience.

Sure, New York City streets will probably always be louder than those in Amsterdam where fenders banging against bike frames can sometimes be the loudest traffic noise one hears, or in Copenhagen, where bike lanes often have their own traffic lights.

But with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s traffic congestion plan defeated and few businesses offering bike parking space, things don’t look like they will improve much soon. nyc.jpg

Or at least not enough so that New Yorkers will be biking their children around the city in droves like they do in Copenhagen.

What do you think, will New York and other U.S. cities catch up on biking as the price of oil rises?

Pic 1: Kid-moving bicycle in Copenhagen, a common sight. Pic 2: Bicycle parking in Amsterdam. Pic 3: Biking in New York. Photos, Tim Gardner.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

If foreign cities and their prices are any indicator of the rise of bikers and walkers in the USA, I’d say it’s likely to rise. I spoke with my sister-in-law, a tunnel expert living outside Birmingham, England recently, where petrol (gas) is approximately equivalent to $9.00 a liter. She walks to work. Rory McMullan–the British author of Biking to Work was raised in a car-free family in London; he bikes every where.(Read his blog: n/the-health-benefits-of-cycling-to-work .html). Author Sadie Kneidel lives in North Carolina, and she too has begun to bike to work. (Read Sadie’s blog: n/a-bike-beats-a-cars-gas-insurance-and- repair-prices.html )

Kelly Jad’on/Founder
Basil & Spice: #1 Site Syndicated Author & Book Views On a Healthy Life!

Posted by Kelly Jad’on | Report as abusive

I have recently begun to bike to work 3 days a week, mainly because of the price of gas and too I am an avid mountain biker. I have suggested to friends who live closer to thier workplace than I do that they should bike or even run to work and the main reason I hear as to why they don’t is they don’t have to ability to shower off once they get to their office. And in SC, biking to work in the middle of July almost requires you to shower off. My commute is 7.5 miles, however, I do have the luxury of a shower in my workplace. It makes you wonder how much longer until employers provide these facilites so to encourage their employees to bike/walk/run to work.

Posted by Patrick Metts | Report as abusive

[…] heavy dose of education. I’d hate to see more of these show up on the streets. Here’s a report by Reuters on planned […]

Posted by Biking News in the Big Apple | Carbon Trace | Report as abusive