The best use of a CitiBike is a straight shot up or down the West Side highway bike path. That's a great ride on a sunny day, even on a slow bike whose chain can't decide between second and third gears. Cross town isn't as pleasant.
Auto sharing is becoming a more popular method of transportation, so why shouldn't bike sharing follow suit? Quite a few consumers and companies agree with that statement. Bicycle-sharing systems have mushroomed over the last few years in large and medium-sized U.S. markets.
Recently in the New York Times, Delia Ephron expressed her frustrations with Citibike. Her hostility toward cyclists seemed overdue or outrageous, depending on your bike-car-pedestrian priorities. But an element of Ephron's ire raised an issue that has gotten relatively little attention.
Citibike represents, in theory, a wonderful effort and one that will bring efficient means of exercise and transport to many New Yorkers. What's a shame, though, is that the bicycles come without helmets.
One idea I had is to require all Citibike riders to punch into the terminal when they pick up their bike that they agree to wear a helmet, that they understand and will obey all traffic rules and then be shown a couple of safety tips.
I'm not usually quick to praise large banks. But I have to give credit where credit is due -- Citibike is the perfect marketing program and especially notable for a company that has taken a number of hits to its image in recent years.
Sure, there are going to be teething problems such as issues with the app or with closed stations, but overall, I've found that it makes my life easier. I'm disappointed by all the haters who are rooting for the system to fail.