By Ken Vitale
Finally, bike share arriving in Queens.
It took a while, but it seems that the Citi Bike program is finally touching down in LIC (and then Astoria) next spring. Thank you to the Astoria Times for the recent article “Citi Bike expands to western Queens under new leadership.” I read it with enthusiasm. I’ve long been a proponent of cycling for health, and in an urban area as a way to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, making Queens a better place to live.
Biking is great for your health. It’s low impact, low stress on the joints, and it’s fun. I’ve seen many clients in my sports medicine practice really make some major changes in their lives by incorporating cycling as part of their routine. People get outdoors more, get in touch with nature, and feel less stressed when they arrive at the office, or when they return home if they commuted by bike. I’ve seen people lose weight, improve their endurance, and just enjoy life more.
However, people in New York City are often in a rush, and may not obey traffic signals. If you decide to get on a bike in any urban area, you must wear a helmet, reflective gear, and obey all traffic signals, or you are putting yourself in danger.
I’ve heard some arguments against Citi Bike, specifically compared to other bike shares, but in my opinion any bike share program is better than none. It brings a healthy vibe to the continuing booming expansion of Astoria/LIC, it means less honking of horns, less exhaust fumes, and certainly would bring more business to the local stores, especially along the waterfront.
I also hope this stimulates NYC to develop more bike-friendly lanes and bike-dedicated lanes to keep the cyclists safe in western Queens. I’ve used most of the lanes in Queens, but at times it can be a little unsafe.
My daughter goes to a preschool in Brooklyn, and they really know how to bike there. The Citi Bike program there has been a hit, too. We can learn a thing or two from them and make it our own, give it a Queens feel.
Once the winter hits, we all get a little down, a little tired, and sometimes a little stir crazy. Being able to hop on a bike once the winter thaws would be a refreshing change. Let’s welcome Citi Bike next spring, be safe about it, and try to incorporate biking into our lives.