in Bicycling, New York City

Bicycling and infrastructure

I grew up in Stockholm, and basically got around pretty much everywhere either by riding my bike or by public transportation. Then, when I moved to Ann Arbor, MI, to go to school, it was pretty much the same story. Ride my bike to class, to work, everywhere. And then I moved to NYC, and have since barely “set butt” on a bike. Why? After all, lots and lots of people in New York City ride bikes. Sure, and more power to them, but when I tried heading out with my bike, I discovered something I hadn’t even thought of until moving to NYC – how dependent urban bikers are on a city’s infrastructure to be able to actually get around on their bikes. I’m not talking about bike lanes, which are important as well. I’m talking about having somewhere to put your bike when you arrive at your destination. Back in Ann Arbor and in Stockholm, bike racks are everywhere. Not so in NYC, for the obvious reason that bike theft is a huge problem her. And the office I work in (like many other NYC offices) is pretty cramped so I can’t take my bike upstairs either. In other words, I end up not riding my bike very much because I should want to leave my bike somewhere, I won’t have anywhere to park it. Unless of course, I want to chance it and leave my bike out on the street, chained to some scaffolding or whatever else I can find.

But today, I read about some truly great news for bicyclists in New York. Of all the things proposed in this article, I think the most important is a new zoning law that would require buildings to provide a space in the building where people can safely park their bikes. I doubt I’m alone in wanting to ride my bike to work but not having anywhere to put it. Let’s just hope that the ideas floated by city officials to improve bicycling infrastructure in the city actually become reality…