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Pump the brakes! Dockless bike share pilot program will bring chaos to Coney, locals say

Piles of pedals: The boom of dockless bike-share companies in China resulted in piles of abandoned bikes cluttering roads and sidewalks. Locals fear something similar from the city’s pilot program in Coney Island.
Brooklyn Paper
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Coney Islanders think the city’s new dockless bike-share program is completely clueless.

The bike-share pilot program the city will roll out in Coney Island this summer will only worsen the already existing problem of hordes of pedalers unlawfully biking on the recently landmarked Riegelmann Boardwalk after 10 am, locals complained at a May 29 meeting.

“Doesn’t the mayor know you’re not allowed to ride bikes on the boardwalk after 10 am?” said Brighton Beach activist Ida Sanoff. “We have a big enforcement problem now. The Parks Department has been trying to address it, so this is just running counterpro­ductive.”

Cycling on the Boardwalk in forbidden in the daytime during the summer months — from Memorial Day Weekend until October 1 — but too many locals already ignore the rule, she said, and the tourists who will be the likely users of the bike share system probably won’t even know about it.

The mayor’s office announced on May 24 that 200 bikes would arrive in Coney Island — as well as neighborhoods in the distant boroughs of Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx — in July for the trial program. The Department of Transportation will evaluate the success and safety of the program during the trial and then work with local officials in the fall to determine whether to continue the program in each neighborhood.

Coney Island does not currently have any bike share program, and bikers will be able to rent the bikes on their cell phones for $1 or $2 per 30-minute ride, according to the mayor’s office. Unlike Citi Bikes, which must be returned to docking stations, riders can ditch the dockless bikes anywhere they please.

At Community Board 13’s Parks Committee meeting on Tuesday, locals said that the police were already failing to enforce the no-biking rule on the Boardwalk, and that the city should get tougher on existing cyclists before the neighborhood gets an influx of more with the bike-share program.

But the supervisor of the 60th Precinct’s Neighborhood Policing Program said the responsibility for enforcing that rule falls on the Parks Department — which has jurisdiction over the Boardwalk — since his officers are already overburdened.

“There’s so much that we’re responsible for that we ask the Parks enforcement officers to be responsible for this,” said Sergeant Christopher Vincenti.

The Parks Department did not reply to inquiries about current enforcement policies and whether they would change with the new program.

The Department of Transportation will finalize boundaries for the bike share program in each neighborhood and select the private bike companies in June, according to the mayor’s office. And district manager Eddie Mark said agency reps will also present more details of the program to locals at the next full board meeting, on June 27 at 7 pm, at Education Hall at the New York Aquarium.

But Sanoff said reps should have come to the community before the launch was announced to explain to locals the details of the program — such as how the city would prevent from stealing the dockless bikes, or from abandoning them in inappropriate places.

“This is a classic case of nobody bothers to come down to the community beforehand,” she said. “They’re just going to leave them all over — they’re going to be trip hazards, I bet they’re going to be stolen.”

The president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance agreed that the city owes the community more information about how the system will operate before flooding the neighborhood with vagrant velocipedes.

“How does this technology work? Is there some plan that they have to not allow the person to just leave it on the boardwalk?” said Rob Burstein. “If they’re suggesting 200 bikes that bikers are going to take on the boardwalk during summer months, that’s an invitation for chaos. If that’s their plan, it seems utterly insane.”

The Department of Transportation did not respond to inquiries about where the bikes would initially be distributed, how the system would limit riding on the boardwalk, how the technology would work, and who would be liable for injuries to riders.

Another Brighton Beach activist said she was thoroughly opposed to the pedal-pushing plan — partly because some young bikers previously tried to run her down on the boardwalk, even while she was walking with two canes.

“The boardwalk is for walking, not bicycles,” said Arlene Brenner. “At one particular time some youngsters decided, ‘let’s run into the lady,’ and indeed they did — they got me from both sides, laughing all the way, and then they started doing wheelies.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 5:43 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Will from Boerum Hill says:
Surely it can’t be any crazier or more dangerous than the dockless car program that’s taken over the neighborhood over the past century.
May 31, 9 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
If locals are so concerned, they can go up to Yonkers and see that dockless bike share has not brought chaos there with five times as many bikes as proposed for Coney Island.
May 31, 10:21 am
Rob from NY says:
Looking forward to Governor Cuomo coming to the next community board meeting to tell people why there are so many more cars this year than last in Coney Island.
May 31, 10:22 am
Mike says:
Seriously, you can’t spell “brakes”? In a headline?
May 31, 10:32 am
BrooklynGersh from The WT says:
So Ida is concerned that more bikes will automatically lead to more lawlessness? How about she call her pals at the 6-0 and just properly enforce existing laws? The real issue in Coney is not cyclists. The real issue is speeding, double parking and illegal parking. Come on, Ida.
May 31, 10:39 am
Maureen from Sheepshead Bay says:
Maybe the people who now ride bikes on the boardwalk should start observing the existing rules and show some courtesy to the joggers, stroller moms and seniors who are also trying to enjoy their day. The bike riders don't even slow down when they see small children walking. And people who have SUV's are not going to leave them at home and use a bike to bring their kids, beach bags, coolers, toys, chairs and umbrellas to the beach.
May 31, 10:42 am
Frank from Furter says:
Brooklyn Gersh you really think there is no enforcement against cars? How many speed light cameras are there? How many speed tickets? No double parking tickets? No illegal parking tickets? The City assigns special staff for enforcement. The city makes millions off illegally parked cars. Yes permit Parker abuse is a real problem not handled well in the outer boros but compared to the paltry numbers issued to bikers it's really a non issue.
May 31, 10:52 am
Tyson from Brooklyn says:
I love the picture above. Four bikes piled onto a sidewalk, blocking pedestrian traffic? Clear evidence of the coming chaos!

Car blocking the crosswalk just to the right? Nothing to see here folks!
May 31, 10:55 am
Frank from Furter says:
In April the 60th issued 1100 moving violations. 341 were for illegal tinted windows. The pd assigns special additional police to the board walk.They could easily warn or ticket the bikers and still do their other jobs. You can look up each precinct by googling traffic tickets in NYC by precinct. Btw they prioritize illegal tinting because it's a safety issue for the pd.
May 31, 11:01 am
Frank from Furter says:
The same data shows about 100000 per month moving violations. More than A million tickets per year! This excludes speed and red light cameras. I do question some of the priorities but that is another issue.
May 31, 11:13 am
Frank from Furter says:
I couldn't find a on line source to look up speed and red light cameras tickets. But the Ny post reports that in 2015 a million speeding camera tickets were issued. I did learn that besides the 100 fixed location speed light cameras 40 of the cameras are on moving SUV that also enforce the speed limit in designated zones around schools...
May 31, 11:23 am
Frank from Furter says:
There is a Dot report on red light cameras. Again for 2015 it reports about 50000 violations per month 555,000 for that year.
May 31, 11:40 am
Bobby from Brooklyn says:
It's simple -- if you don't speed or run red lights, or park illegally, you don't need to worry about getting a ticket for it. If you drive a car with the expectation that you are going to break the law, you deserve what you get.
May 31, 11:44 am
Tyler from pps says:
And Frank from Furter.... all of that doesn't seem to be enough.

I drive 4-5 days per week. I've received TWO parking tickets in Brooklyn over the past 12 years. I have received ZERO speeding tickers, ZERO red light camera violations, ZERO bus lane violations....

The stats you list are not negatives about the NYPD or DOT, they are a symptom of the millions of idiots who can't drive 25 mph or stop at red lights or pay attention while driving. Those numbers could be easily doubled.
May 31, 11:54 am
Frank from Furter says:
LOL it doesn't seem enough? The number of red light violations are actually down...as are the number of accidents. The idea is to get compliance not arrest everyone. You won't have a 100 percent compliance until the cars are driven by computers...but nothing can go wrong..can go wrong..can go wrong...
and those statistics are are line

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/stats/traffic-data/traffic-data-collision.page
May 31, 12:13 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Dockless bikes can’t work. How do you take away parking spaces if there are no docking stations?
May 31, 12:20 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Frank -- Yes. That is the goal. It would be wonderful if there were red light cameras everywhere and the number of tickets was negligible. That is DEFINITELY not the case now.

And what about the cars shifting into 4th gear before barely slowing down at the stop sign on my residential street with children and, well, people? They're not doing this on the parallel Coney Island Avenue because they might get a ticket.

Why are you defending these drivers by characterizing it as a "money grab" by the city?

Like I said.... 12 years of driving in Brooklyn, TWO parking tickets. It's not that hard to be a safe and courteous driver. And they DESERVE every penny of fines and penalties they get... and much more for the things they don't get caught for.
May 31, 1:11 pm
BrooklynGersh from The WT says:
Getting back to Frank from Furter, Frank, I just want you to remember that virtually all deaths and the vast majority of accidents on our roadways are caused by drivers, not pedestrians or cyclists.

Tickets are issued to people who violate the law, so why are you protecting them? They are the people who will hit you or your kids.
May 31, 1:47 pm
Unsightly from NYC says:
When is NYC going to enforce the illegal storage of bikes in public spaces at the likes of utility poles, sign posts, trees, etc.

Convenient enforcement is no way to enforce the law.

If they can control illegal car parking, they can do it with bikes.

Time to register the peddlers!
May 31, 2:39 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
If you see a bike chained to an illegal spot, just grab the closest pair of bolt cutters, and set that bike free.
May 31, 3:28 pm
Frank from Furtet says:
Brooklyn Gersh the vast majority of accidents including fatal ones are caused by a combination of factors. Road design, weather, time of day drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. I will agree that when it's between a driver and a pedestrian or a bicyclists it's normally the pedestrian and the bike rider that suffer the most. But even with pedestrians crossing against the light or in the middle of the block are significant factors.
May 31, 4:28 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Mr. Unsightly.... Interesting use of "illegal." The only illegal thing you mentioned and the only thing that the City will accept reports/complaints for is locking to a tree.

Otherwise, umm, not illegal.
May 31, 4:58 pm
Tyler from pps says:
And Frank -- Sounds like you're a bad driver who gets lots of tickets and you're trying to justify your behavior.

Might not be the case, but it sure sounds like it.
May 31, 5:01 pm
Frank from Furter says:
lol. Your prejudice is showing
Not one in years not even a parking ticket. The last parking ticket years ago was found not
Guilty.
May 31, 5:13 pm
Dmitri S from Coney Island says:
They need to get rid of all the parking lots in Coney Island, and eliminate parking on Avenues as well, at least for the summer months. This will prevent hordes of beach goers from coming to Coney Island in cars, and instead they can take mass transit.

Bicycles on the boardwalk are a huge problem. I admit, I used to be guilty of riding on the boardwalk 20 years ago when I myself was a teen, but police never cared. I almost hope some hipster interloper gets seriously injured while bicycling on the boardwalk, and maybe then we'll see some enforcement.
May 31, 6:50 pm
Unsightly from NYC says:
Tyler from pps: I repeat and am correct in stating that "storage of bikes in public spaces at the likes of utility poles, sign posts, trees, etc." is in fact illegal.

In fact, I successfully get them removed by DOS all the time. Problem is, that it takes so much time to go through the reporting process, which usually entails follow up to make it happen, and then there's the waiting process,and waiting, and waiting...

Hence my point, that if only enforcement wasn't a matter of convenience, we wouldn't have to spend our time doing reporting on that which the government has a responsibility to do on their own - not like it's not right in their face to see!

Have an idea; since the property owner is technically responsible to keep the sidewalks clean, perhaps they can just cut them off and put them out with the recycling collection. Humm... need to check this one out!
June 1, 9 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
After seeing what happened to this program in China, I feel it will be a bad idea for here, and possibly much of the same will happen as well.
June 1, 5:46 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Unsightly -- Only UNUSABLE bicycles attached to public property will be removed... rusted, busted up bikes. The city will not accept requests for the removal of USABLE bikes.
June 2, 3:10 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Tal - Are they starting a dockless bikesharing program in Pleasantville?
June 2, 3:11 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Unsightly --

http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1191/bicycle-chained-to-public-property
June 2, 3:19 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tyler, another reason I oppose this idea is mainly because cyclists are still a very small number other city commuters according to a recent study in the US Census Bureau. In reality it feels very elitist and a waste of money to give an infrastructure to a group that barely makes one percent of them. The only reason you got a lot of what you want is because of the lobbying power done by Transportation Alternatives, otherwise many would feel that they are nothing but a group who feels that the only right decisions are the ones they make. As for China, after seeing how much that program was such a failure and leaving abandoned bicycles, it makes me feel that the same will happen here. BTW, don't try that we can always get rid of it if it fails statement, because I know those who support it will either try to fudge data or use good faith to keep them around even if that isn't the case.
June 3, 6:28 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Tal - If you feel so strongly about a bikesharing program in Pleasantville, you should do something about it. I'm not sure what a New York City bikeshairing program has to do with Pleasantville...
June 3, 8:28 pm

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