New York Bike Share and Gore de France

Ever since bike share came to New York, it’s existence is being hacked to death from right and left. 

From the screaming antics at local community board meetings to the scathing comments from cyclists about their bike parking being taken away, there is a new scream, coming from thoughtful journalists with dire predictions about the number of deaths we’ll see among bike share users.

Charlie Komanoff has put pen to paper on this one. If you remember, he was one of the pioneers who conducted a study showing that a large percentage of the fatalities of cyclists and pedestrians by drivers in New York were due to carelessness, and  never resulted in penalties for the drivers.

In his article on Streetsblog, he defends the notion that we can’t make dire predictions about cyclists’ deaths with the oncoming Citibikes program about to start on May 27.  Here’s an excerpt from the germ of the article:

“Let’s start with Gelinas’s fatality forecast. She extrapolates from deaths in the initial years of Paris’s Velib program and cautions us to brace ourselves for “at least six [cyclist] deaths beyond the usual expected by the end of 2015 — all on the cute, clunky blue bikes.” And that’s just in the Manhattan Central Business District. Gelinas’s two bike-share deaths a year in the CBD would come on top of the baseline level of two to three.

That’s a stretch, and one that may stem from the widespread tendency to underestimate just how much cycling there already is in Manhattan.estimate that day in and day out around two-thirds of a million trips are made by bike in the five boroughs. Probably a third to a half of those start or end in the CBD. Gelinas figures that 5,500 Citi Bikes will make 27,500 trips a day, tops. If so, they’ll only add around 10 percent to current bicycle travel in the CBD.”

To read the rest of the article, check out his piece on Streetsblog.