An EVG reader, who asked to remain anonymous, submitted the following...
As an avid biker/alternative-transportation-seeker in New York City, the past few years have been a neverending whirlwind of emotions. The city has done a great job building bike lines, bike racks, hosting bike parking at events, and much more to encourage two wheeled riders.
The East Village is as busy of a neighborhood as any for bikers, with hundreds of delivery bikes roaming the streets alongside the commuters up and down First and Second and the casual neighborhood riders around Tompkins.
One issue remains, which I was reminded of in this post; bike theft seems to be as big of an issue as ever. I bought my first NYC bike about 2.5 years ago, and it was stolen within a month of owning it, despite it being locked up to an Equinox (improperly, but still, locked). I luckily got insurance money back for it, but the new bike I purchased has hardly seen the light of day during the week. When I lock up my bike outside a restaurant, I spend the entire meal EXPECTING it to get stolen. I can be 6 feet away from my bike on a patio eating, and I'll still stare at my bike to be sure it hasn't been taken.
Meanwhile, I signed up for Citi Bike before it had even launched. It was a godsend to my anxiety; I would never have to fear getting my bike stolen again, I had 3 docks within an avenue of my apartment, and I could bike anywhere south of 59th Street without worrying about taking the same bike home if I had an extra drink or two.
But Citi Bike is far, far from perfect. The app tells me there are 3 bikes, and none of them work. I show up to a dock with 5 spaces, none of them work. There are no bikes in the morning, and no docks at night. One of the best things about biking to work is the consistency in how long it will take, no matter how bad traffic is...and this is providing an opposite experience.
But it's $95/a year. Even if they jack it up to $200/year, it still feels cheap. Who am I to complain?
The bigger issue remains bike theft. If I didn't have to worry about my personal bike getting stolen, I would use it more often, I would use Citibike only when I really need to, and I would have less anxiety in general. So I have some questions for you, community:
a) How many of you both have a Citi Bike AND a personal bike? If you do, what's your split on usage between the two?
b) What could the city do to prevent bike theft? Is it even their responsibility to do something or should we be the ones spending extra money on extra/fancier locks?
c) Do you think Citi Bike is going to improve its service and reliability in the next year, or is the increasing popularity just going to make it more frustrating?
And we're off...