Frequently Asked Questions

What is bike share?

Bike share is an easy, affordable mode of transportation allowing users to make trips using sturdy, publicly available bikes. New York City’s current bike share system, "Citi Bike", is part of a public-private partnership with a company called Motivate. Citi Bike is a station based bike share system. Bikes are unlocked from one station and returned to any other station in the system, making bike share ideal for short, one way trips.

New to the bike share industry is dockless bike share, a network of publicly available bikes unlocked using a smart phone. To determine if this new bike share model is a good fit for New York City, DOT is holding dockless bike share pilots in four areas of the City.

 

Why does New York need a bike share system?

Bike share provides New Yorkers with more options for getting around the city. A majority of all trips made in the City are less than two miles. Bike share gives New Yorkers a cheap, easy, efficient and fast option for these trips by providing ready access to a bike, without having to worry about storage or maintenance.

Bike share also leverages the City’s great mass transit system by extending the reach of transit into areas that don’t have great subway coverage. 50% of Citi Bike trips are made to get to or from a public transit station. As Mayor de Blasio has said, “Citi Bike has become part of our public transportation system.”

 

How does bike share work?

Bike share is designed for short point to point trips.

Riders are limited to short lengths of time, typically 30 - 45 minutes depending on the bike share rental trip type. This ensure that bikes are available for as many users as possible throughout the day. Bikes may be kept out for longer rides, but extra fees will apply. As cities all over the world have discovered, bike share programs are used by a wide range of people for a variety of trips. In New York, where a majority of trips are under two miles, bike share is useful to almost everyone.

For more information on Citi Bike visit the "How It Works" page on the Citi Bike website.

For more information on dockless bike share, visit the "Overview" page on the dockless feedback website.

 

Is bike share safe?

Yes, Citi Bike has an extremely strong safety record. Citi Bike bikes are very stable, not capable of high speeds, and are routinely maintained by professional mechanics. Citi Bike bikes have built in safety features, such as sturdy breaks, a bell, and lights that flash as soon as the wheels start rolling. Learn more about the bike itself here. Data from London and Washington show that people riding shared bicycles are involved in fewer crashes and receive fewer injuries than people riding their own bikes. A recent Hunter College study has shown that Citi Bike riders are some of the safest cyclists on the road.

Cycling in general has never been safer in New York City. In the last decade annual bicycle trips rose 150%, while cycling injuries and fatalities have fallen or remained flat. Mayor Bill de Blasio has framed the central element of the City’s transportation policy to be Vision Zero, which seeks to reduce to zero the number of people killed or seriously injured due to road crashes. The growth in cycling coincides with expanded bike share network and launch of the Citi Bike program.

The City has added over 308 lane miles of conventional bike lanes since 2010, and more than 74 protected lane miles, which has made NYC streets much safer for cyclists. Researchers in the field of traffic safety posit that the more cyclists there are on the road, the safer riding becomes for all cyclists. The correlation between the rise in cycling trips and the drop in the number of cyclists killed and severely injured per bicycle trip suggests that this “safety in numbers” dynamic may be occurring in New York City. As part of Vision Zero, Mayor de Blasio’s multi-agency effort to eliminate severe traffic injuries and fatalities, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) have undertaken the first comprehensive analysis of cyclist safety since 2006. You can download the Safer Cycling report by visiting Resources.

Are helmets included?

No, helmets are not included as part of a Citi Bike membership. Helmet sharing is not a practical part of a bike share system. However, the City of New York strongly encourages the use of helmets. All annual Citi Bike members receive a voucher reducing the price of a bike helmet by $10 from participating bike shops. Citi Bike has also partnered with Bike and Roll who offers 1-day helmet rentals from any of the Bike and Roll locations.

In addition, DOT continues to distribute free helmets. Over 180,000 have been given away to New Yorkers since 2007. Call 311 for more information on being fitted for a free helmet or visit the NYC DOT Facebook "Events" page.

New York State law requires helmets for bicyclists age 13 and under.

 

Who is running Citi Bike?

Citi Bike is a public-private partnership between the City of New York, represented by NYC DOT and Motivate. Motivate is a private company that owns and operates bike share systems around the country. In New York City, Motivate has a local subsidiary, New York City Bike Share, LLC (NYCBS). NYCBS oversees all the operations of the program. The City allows Motivate to utilize the public right of way (the street, sidewalk or plaza) to place Citi Bike Stations. In exchange, Motivate provides the service of a reasonably priced, flexible bicycle transportation system for New York. No tax payer monies are used to fund the Citi Bike system.

 

How much does Citi Bike cost?

Current pricing information is available at Citi Bike's pricing page. Citi Bike’s pricing structure is designed to encourage short trips. A membership entitles users to take as many trips as they want during the length of their membership. For each trip, your initial ride period is included in the cost of the membership purchase. However, if the time limit on the initial ride period is exceeded users pay additional fees based on how long the bike is kept out. Please visit the Citi Bike website for more details.

Citi Bike also offers discounted memberships options for just $5 per month. those eligible include:

  • People living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing
  • People receiving Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
  • Members of participating Community Development Credit Unions (CDCU)

Please visit the Reduced Fare Bike Share page or the CDCU page for more information.

Any New Yorker with an IDNYC card can receive 15% of their first annual membership purchase. Citi credit or debit cardholders will receive 10% off their annual membership at checkout.

 

How are station locations selected?

Since 2011, NYC DOT has conducted an extensive and participatory public input process. This process involves holding interactive workshops and meeting frequently with Community Boards, elected officials, community organizations and other stakeholders to gather input. 

DOT also provides the opportunity for those who may not be able to attend a public meeting. There is interactive siting map where residents can suggest future station locations. This allows for a system truly designed for New Yorkers, to meet New Yorkers needs. Station locations are tailored to what we hear from communities.

DOT always attempts to find the balance between various uses and needs of our streets. We place bike share stations using multiple criteria, including:

  • sidewalk width
  • parking loss
  • proximity to street furniture and underground utilities, and
  • station density

 

How big is the current Citi Bike system?

Citi Bike is the nation's largest bike share system. the system currently has 12,000 bikes and 750 stations, double the size of the system at launch in 2013!

Is there an app to find Citi Bike stations?

Yes. The Citi Bike app provides real-time information on bike and dock availability in New York City and New Jersey. The app also includes trip information including a trip timer, ride history and suggested cycling routes. Short-term memberships can also be purchased through the Citi Bike app.

Available for iOS and Andriod.

 

What kind of data does the system generate, and who can access it?

Data on when and where each Citi Bike is checked out and checked back in is available to the public. All data in an anonymized format. A real time data feed, monthly operating reports, and daily ridership and membership data broken down quarterly are also available. All these data sources can be found at Citi Bike's System Data page.

 

Does bike share receive any taxpayer or federal-aid dollars?

No. Citi Bike is funded through private capital, sponsorship agreements, and revenues from users. Sponsorship and revenues cover the entire equipment and operations cost of the system.

 

How was Citi Bank selected as the title sponsor?

After being selected as the system operator, NYCBS, put out a call for sponsors. NYCBS contacted companies around the world to discuss the project and solicit interest from potential sponsors. Through this process Citi Bank was selected as the title sponsor for 11 years.

 

What kind of jobs is Citi Bike bringing to New York City?

Citi Bike has created many new jobs in New York City and will continue to do so as the system expands. From bicycle mechanics to administrative staff, Motivate is always looking for good people. Motivate operates all aspects of the program out of their headquarters in Brooklyn. Find out more about career opportunities at https://www.citibikenyc.com/careers.

 

What is dockless bike share?

Like Citi Bike, dockless bike share is a network of publicly available bikes designed for short point to point trips. However, dockless bikes share does not need a docking station to operate. Docks are locked and unlocked using a smartphone app. There are two types of dockless bikes: 

  • "Free lock" dockless bikes come with a built-in ring lock that locks the rear tire when not in use. A free-locking dockless bike can be parked almost anywhere as long as it meets the parking guidelines set by NYC DOT
  • "Lock-to" dockless bikes come with a bike lock. To end their trip, the user must lock the bike to a bike rack.

 

What is the dockless bike share pilot?

Bike share has proven itself to be a convenient and affordable transportation option for tens of thousands of New Yorkers every day. As Mayor de Blasio said, “Bike share is now an essential part of our transportation system and another way we’re making sure New Yorkers have many ways to get around town.” Dockless bike share is a new model of publicly available bikes that are unlocked using a smart phone for a nominal fee.  This model offers the potential to expand bike share at potentially lower capital costs and on a faster timeline to areas of the city not currently served by the Citi Bike system.

To determine if this new bike share model is a good fit for New York City, DOT is holding dockless bike share pilots in four areas of the City; the Rockaways in Queens, the North Shore of Staten Island, the Fordham Area in the Bronx, and Coney Island in Brooklyn. The pilots are designed to be small in scale in order to accurately evaluate the service model.

Who are the dockless bike share operators?

There are currently four vendors of dockless bike share:

  • Lime – Operating in Staten Island and the Rockaways 
  • JUMP – Operating in Staten Island and the Bronx
  • Motivate – Operating in the Bronx
  • Pace – Operating in the Rockaways 

How were the boundaries for the pilot chosen?

Pilot locations were chosen based on several variables. The NYC DOT selected four locations with unique land use, geography, and demographic characteristics. DOT hopes to collect a robust data set on how users and vendors alike utilize the service model. 

 

Can I ride outside of the pilot area?

All trips must begin and end within the pilot boundaries. You can ride outside of the pilot area, however you must end the ride within the boundary to avoid a fee.

 

Will the dockless bikes be compatible with Citi Bike?

Dockless bikes in the pilot will not be compatible with Citi Bike.

How do I give feedback about the dockless pilot?

Community input and feedback will be a critical component of the pilot. The NYC DOT will use community feedback to help inform future decisions. Please visit the dockless feedback map or NYC311 to register issues or offer suggestions. We can also be reached through email at dockless.bikeshare@dot.nyc.gov. Doing so will help make bike share better for all New Yorkers.