Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

New Yorkers Take to Biking Since Attacks

Expand Messages
  • Robert J. Matter
    New Yorkers Take to Biking Since Attacks By Kathy Chu 10/30/2001 The Wall Street Journal Page B11F Copyright (c) 2001, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.) NEW YORK --
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2001
      New Yorkers Take to Biking Since Attacks
      By Kathy Chu

      The Wall Street Journal
      Page B11F Copyright (c) 2001, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

      NEW YORK -- Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Stephen
      Mack has been riding his bike on short jaunts instead of
      hopping on a taxi or the subway.

      "It's safer, it's more pleasant and it's faster," says Mr.
      Mack, a free-lance film editor who lives and works in
      Manhattan. Congested subways and the "slight anxiety" he
      feels underground also factor into his decision.

      Mr. Mack is part of an increasing number of New Yorkers who
      are discovering the virtues of bicycling after the World
      Trade Center's collapse disrupted transit lines in lower

      About 150,000 people a day now ride their bikes into New York
      City and its boroughs, a 50% rise from six weeks ago,
      according to Transportation Alternatives, a citywide advocacy
      group for pedestrians and bikers.

      In Manhattan's central business district -- defined as areas
      south of 63rd Street -- about 20,000 riders are peddling in
      each day, a 33% rise from Sept. 11. These estimates are based
      on counts taken on city streets and at river crossings.

      Most of the new bicyclists are transit riders tired of
      crowded conditions on subways, buses and trains, says
      Transportation Alternatives executive director John Kaehny,
      while some also may be fed-up motorists.

      At bike shops throughout the city, sales are booming. For
      example, Bicycle Habitat in Soho has experienced a 20% to 25%
      increase in bike, lock and equipment sales since the attacks,
      says owner Charles McCorkell.

      At Terrific's Bikes in Brooklyn -- about two miles away from
      the Williamsburg Bridge, a route for cyclists traveling into
      Manhattan -- more bicycle repairs are contributing to the
      overall increase in business.

      "People who come in, they mention that they're afraid to go
      on the subway because there could be a bomb or anthrax," says
      shop owner Tony Williams. "At least on the bike, they can
      ride away."

      Even near Ground Zero, where business has been nonexistent
      for many shops, bikes are selling at a healthy pace. Louis
      Vieira, owner of Gotham Bikes Inc., a West Broadway shop that
      lies mere blocks away from the remains of the World Trade
      Center, says he sells daily three to four commuter bikes --
      which he defines as those costing $400 and under -- 50% more
      than before the attacks. Part of it may be that people are
      "coming out to support their businesses," he says.

      In the long run, some observers expect a permanent increase
      in bicycle riding in the city. The significant and sudden
      rise in cyclists suggests that employers and building owners
      are becoming more flexible about bringing bikes to work, says
      Mr. Kaehny at Transportation Alternatives. The availability
      of bike storage is the No. 1 reason why commuters would
      switch from public transportation or driving to biking , he

      Uncertainty about when major transit lines in lower Manhattan
      will reopen and the indefinite extension of the single-driver
      ban at city crossings also is expected to keep some people
      pedaling. Charles Dweck, a retail-store owner who sometimes
      commutes from Flatbush, Brooklyn, into Manhattan, says: "It's
      long, it's hard, but there's no other resort."
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.