Leveraging technological advances with health and fitness awareness can contribute to sustainable lifestyles for large cities like New York.
Our health is the most precious possession in life. And fitness is essential for health. But fast and convenient commuting entered the equation in rapid economic development in large cities.
There are millions of people using traditional and electronic mobility devices to improve their health and fitness. Prime examples are bikes, e-bikes, and fitness trackers.
In this post, I introduce the concept of shared-mobility giving e-bike sharing as an example of its successful implementation in New York City. This city is now a role model for sustainable transportation among large metropolitan areas globally.
Shared-Use Mobility Center defines shared mobility as:
"Transportation services and shared resources among users, either concurrently or one after another. This includes public transit; micro-mobility (bike sharing, scooter sharing); automobile-based modes (carsharing, rides on-demand, and micro transit); and commute-based modes or ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling)".
Shared transportation is proliferating. Concerns related to energy saving, transportation costs, traffic congestion, and other environmental factors contribute to this growth. Bikes are considered environmentally friendly, and sharing makes them even more attractive to solving ecological problems.
A typically shared-mobility concept is sharing vehicles such as bicycles. Millions of bikes are shared in many cities. When we look at the Meddin Bike-sharing World Map sponsored by PBSC, three regions stand out on the global map. They are Europe, China, and North America.
The site shows 9,725,359 bikes available for sharing.
The bike-sharing concept was first implemented in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1965. However, until the 2000s, not much development occurred in its use publicly at a large scale. Only after 2005 organized bike-share implementations started multiplying.
A review of bike-share literature by Elliot Fishman from Utrecht University has found several patterns and exciting trends. For example, convenience is the primary motivator for bike-share use.
Financial savings have been found to motivate those on a low income, and the distance one lives from a docking station is an essential predictor for bike-share membership. Interestingly, men use bike-share more than women. Commuting is the most common trip purpose for annual members. Bikeshare users appear less likely to be injured than private bike riders.
The paper points out that future directions include integration with e-bikes, GPS (Global Positioning System), dockless systems and improved public transport integration. It also highlights that more research is required to quantify the impacts of bike-share in terms of mode choice, emissions, congestion and health.
While some people enjoy doing their exercises via bikes, many city commuters prefer using electronic bikes (e-bikes), which require less activity and can ride faster to achieve their daily goals. An initiative called City Bike realized this vision in New York. Citi Bike is one of the most extensive bike-sharing services.
Proposed by the NYC DOT (The New York City Department of Transportation) in 2008, the actual operation of Citi Bike started in 2013. Some technical and environmental issues caused the delay for almost five years.
E-bikes became very popular with the introduction of Citi Bike, one of the most extensive bike-sharing services, offering 21,500 bikes at over 1,400 stations. New York City has now over 4,500 shared e-bikes. Annual membership to Citi Bike is $179 or billed $15 per month. This membership service includes 45 minutes classic bike rides, speed-up with e-bikes, and quickly unlocks with a free key.
Recently another company has started an e-bike sharing service in New York. JOCO, a micro-mobility brand, is merging sustainability and convenience concepts. JOCO's mission is to bring joy to commuting in New York. Their premium electric-assist bikes are built from quality materials and provide easy rides for beginners. JOCO's membership cost is higher than Citi Bike. The annual membership cost is $450, and the monthly charge is $49. It includes $45 e-bike riding and cost $0.25 per min after that. JOCO provides free helmets.
And in February 2021, Revel introduced an e-bike subscription service for New York City residents for $99 a month. The service includes an e-bike manufactured by Wing delivered to customers' homes.
In April 2020, the New York City Council legalized the use of e-bikes and scooters. The top speed for e-bikes is up to 25mph, and for e-scooters up to 20mph. In addition, E-bikes and e-scooters were legalized statewide when the state budget was passed in April 2020.
New York is now among the top cities in bike-sharing and using e-bikes globally.
The density in the attached screen capture from New York City bike share map is evidence of the city's acceptance of bike riding.
There is a law protecting bike riders in New York state, and it is implemented with rigor statewide.
Here is an educative YouTube video to get started biking, sharing the road and bicycle law in New York state uploaded by New York Bicyclic Coalition.
Safety is critical for bike riders. Therefore, following rules and using technological gadgets play a vital role in improving safety.
Some commonly used safety tools are cyclic fly cameras, wireless bike turn signals, smart horns, bright bike lights, innovative handlebars, helmet torches, halo belts, built-in signal grips, fibre flares, shoe lights, and armband lights. Some of the popular safety gadgets are documented by Hobbr.com.
In addition, you may check this article covering 31 ideas for staying safe while biking posted by Katherine Torres published on Safewise.com. As you may guess, the first item on the list is wearing a helmet. This is a non-negotiable requirement for bike riding. BicycleSafe.com provides a valuable resource on how not to get hit by cars.
Bike-sharing and e-bike subscription services added extra vitality to New York City. These facilities not only provide benefits to residents but also contribute to the environment and sustainable living goals in this large city.
Congratulations to New Yorkers for leading the way in this exciting journey.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.
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