Sandy: Mother of a Million Bike Commuters

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, where the New York subway system may take weeks to recover, expect a lot of bikes to come out of mothballs.

New York City bike advocates Transportation Alternatives are preparing to help erstwhile cyclists make the transition from neglect to success with commuter support stops. The “Bike Ambassadors” will be offering “free coffee, encouragement, guidance and technical/material assistance.”

After #Sandy Transportation Alternatives' Commuter Support Stops  | BikeNYC
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The support stops are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, and possibly more days next week.

And for ersatz motorists, Dani Simons has put together a handy set of NYC Rules of the Road.

Smart Marketing for Sustainable Streets • Live in NYC? Want to start bike commuting this...
Click to go to Dani Simons’ NYC Rules of the Road


Rather than privileging motor vehicles again as soon as possible, Transportation Alternatives has also issued a set of recommendations to the city, including:

  • Bike Parking Stations and Temporary Bike Storage in major employment centers in Lower Manhattan …
  • High Occupancy Vehicle Requirements on crossings into the most congested areas of the city.

In other words: Emergency Biketopia

New Yorkers may discover that a bike is the best and fastest way to get around the city. Something New York bike commuters have known all along.

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12 thoughts on “Sandy: Mother of a Million Bike Commuters”

  1. Ted Johnson says:

    On the other hand, the people who can’t handle cycling might stay home in the dark and propagate another car-dependent generation.

  2. Everett says:

    Don’t despair yet, Ted. Just heard on the news last night the Bloomberg is requiring all cars crossing into NYC to carry at least three people.

  3. Jeff Gardner says:

    Several people have noted from time to time that sudden displacement of some sort would be the biggest mover for change. My argument in this regard has been 7.00 FRN/gal gasoline.

    Alright. We’ve got our ‘sudden displacement’. Its immediate usefulness is that the bicycle commute option is quantified. From the looks of things, mile-long gas lines and blocks-long bus lines do not meet Americans’ threshold for taking what is apparently that most drastic step: getting on a bicycle. God forbid. Maybe two-mile long gas lines will do it. Three…five maybe?

  4. Jack says:

    It is a great opportunity, but alas, my fear is that humans will do the dumb thing, even though it will lead to their demise. Sigh.

  5. Joel says:

    I had an inspirational moment when I started my multi-mode bicycle commute 14 months ago. It was not crisis driven but it was created by a set of circumstances beyond my control. My response to that set of circumstances has kept me on my commute even as the original problems dissipated.

    I am an optimist. This is going to get a percentage of people on bikes for this crisis and a percentage of those people will stay on bikes as the crisis passes.

    Of course, I am prejudiced, I enjoy riding my bike.

  6. Shanna Ladd says:

    Taken from the reliable source, Wikipedia: Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance ->despite adverse dependency consequences anxiety, irritability intense cravings for the substance, nausea, hallucinations, headaches, cold sweats, and tremors<- (road rage)
    America is addicted to TV, cars and a host of other garbage.
    That's why it doesn't make any sence.

  7. Bicycles come in handy in the event of natural disasters. It’s great to see such support from the city. Perhaps it will encourage more bike commuters. Honestly, getting across Manhattan by bike would be a breeze without many cars – it’s not a very large footprint.

  8. Morgan says:

    You seem to be in agreement that the storm won’t be getting people out of their cars onto bikes. Drivers have too much invested into their cars. But that’s not the commuter demographic that the article is talking about. This will get a lot of subway and bus commuters onto their bikes. Note that since the subway bombings in London in 2003 the number of cycle commuters has roughly doubled. And that increase in cycling numbers has lead to the creation of better bike infrastructure and of the ‘Boris Bike’ cycle hire scheme.

  9. I heard a report on this topic on All Things Considered this evening and a few minutes later read an article about bike commuting in the aftermath in today’s edition of NYTimes. In the times article, a couple of new bike commuters thought they might just stick with it noting the low cost of travel and the speed at which they were able to get to their destination by bike as compared to car.

    A few people will be, like me, pleasantly surprised at how quickly they figured out how to get to work by bike and how much they enjoyed the experience over driving. And they’ll convert one or two friends along the way.

  10. Shanna Ladd says:

    Encouraging information. Even though car dependency looks a lot like a terrible drug addiction, many just don’t understand that biking is a good, reasonable transporation option. I also didn’t believe it was possible or practical but with experience and good information have chosen biking as my basic transportation. It is so helpful for information to be available to those who are interested so they have what it takes to make it work.
    This has been a great site for myself and daughter transitioning from car to bike and making it all work.

  11. I think the hole economic crysis is a good thing for cycling.

    History shows that in time of depressions, after wars, petrol crysis, bycicle sales and bike users have risen.

  12. Mark h says:

    @Shanna For a moment there when you were defining addiction, I thought you were talking about bicycling addiction. Then AddictedToCycling also chimed in.

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