electrical bike E-scooters, bikes took Navy Yard by storm final week, as NYC hopes for transit options
Aneta Wojtowicz, a bodily therapist at Montefiore Hospital, tried out her new bicycle – courtesy of TA’s #BikeMatch program and Superpedestrian – on Friday. Picture: John McCarten/Brooklyn Eagle
Boerum Hill resident Ann Villaveccs, a nurse at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, had been making an attempt to get her arms on a bicycle because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, her want got here true, by way of Transportation Alternate options’ bike match program.
“My household and buddies despatched me hyperlinks to this system,” she mentioned. “I’m so glad. They don’t understand how a lot this implies.”
Villaveccs was one in every of 50 well being care, transportation and meals staff who have been gifted new bicycles on Friday by means of this system.
The bikes have been donated by the micro-mobility firm Superpedestrian. And for enjoyable, recipients obtained an opportunity to test-drive Superpedestrian’s new “good” LINK electrical scooters.
With bicycles briefly provide as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the sturdy 3-speed bikes, value roughly $1,000, are a godsend, the recipients mentioned. The employees registered for the bicycles by means of Transportation Alternate options, in addition to by means of Make the Street New York and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Aneta Wojtowicz, a bodily therapist at Montefiore Hospital, mentioned she has been on a ready record for a motorbike for months. Wojtowicz was thrilled to obtain one on Friday, and plans to trip it to work — a distance of 17 miles.
“I’ve to take a bus, then a subway, then one other subway to get to work,” she informed the Brooklyn Eagle. Her common commute takes her greater than two hours, so, “I desire taking a motorbike,” she mentioned.
Park Slope resident Sam Faria says he’s going to trip his new bicycle to work on the Dealer Joe’s in Soho.
“Everybody’s biking proper now,” he mentioned. “My coworker obtained a motorbike by means of this system. After I noticed that I mentioned, ‘I want this,’ and signed up.”
“To have my very own bike is great,” mentioned Jasmine Billups, a vital employee with the MTA in Downtown Brooklyn. She plans to trip her bike for train.
This system (aka #BikeMatch) often matches New Yorkers who’ve an additional bike with important staff who want one, Transportation Different’s Em Friedenberg informed the Eagle.
“This system has been working by means of the pandemic. We’ve matched a couple of hundred important staff in New York Metropolis,” and the idea has unfold to roughly 30 different cities, she mentioned.
However on this case, Superpedestrian donated 50 bicycles all of sudden — a giant win for important staff.
As an added perk, the NYC Division of Transportation gave the recipients free bicycle helmets.
Taking a wise e-scooter for a spin
This fortunate reporter additionally obtained an opportunity to check out Superpedestrian’s LINK e-scooter on the occasion (Woo hoo!). I used to be curious how onerous it will be to trip, since I’d by no means been on an electrical scooter earlier than.
Right here’s the report: The scooter is kind of straightforward to trip. It takes about 15 seconds to determine the place the brakes and throttle are (on the handlebars), then push off and get rolling. It’s similar to driving a daily scooter, besides you don’t must expend any effort. The middle of gravity is low, so it feels secure. The highest pace is 15 mph, which places it within the bicycle class (so please, put on a bicycle helmet.) Town can set decrease pace limits if it needs to.
The scooter is provided with onboard geofencing, which prevents the rider from venturing into no-go zones like sidewalks. The corporate arrange a sizzling zone in quite a bit on the Navy Yard, and the scooters efficiently slowed, then stopped, as they approached it.
Prepare for e-scooters, Brooklyn
Shared e-scooters have been authorised by New York Metropolis for all of the boroughs besides Manhattan, and Superpedestrian can be one of many firms responding to the town’s upcoming request for proposals. A pilot program might launch as early as March, 2021 — so prepare for Brooklyn to be e-scooter central subsequent yr.
Different firms prone to take part within the RFP embody well-known names like Lime, Chicken and Lyft. Nonetheless, Superpedestrian thinks its scooters will shine as a result of they have been designed by a derivative of MIT’s Senseable City Lab, which zeroes in on the actual challenges confronted by cities.
Moreover onboard geofencing, the scooters additionally perform automated methods monitoring. They know if they’ve fallen over, if the brakes are failing, or if somebody is making an attempt to trip over the Brooklyn Bridge (that’s a no-no). The scooters are additionally further sturdy, with thicker necks than different e-scooters.
“They’re engineered to take abuse and defend pedestrians,” Superpedestrian’s Paul Steely White informed the Eagle.
“We load the geofencing maps straight on the scooters, they usually don’t depend on cell connections to speak to the cloud,” he mentioned. “Speaking to the cloud takes time, and [by then] the scooter could possibly be effectively contained in the pedestrian space or sidewalk.” With onboard geofencing, “Even in case you hit the accelerator, you possibly can’t go into the delicate zone.”
The scooters can journey as much as 55 miles on a single cost, so the corporate must recharge them much less usually than the standard e-scooter, he added.
In Chicago and different cities, one downside e-scooters posed throughout preliminary pilots was that piles of scooters have been discarded in the public right of way. Steely White mentioned LINK’s expertise prevents customers from parking scooters the place they’re not needed, comparable to on sidewalks.
In its first pilot, Chicago additionally failed to ensure the e-scooters have been accessible in areas missing transit choices (Chicago has fastened that in their current pilot program). New York Metropolis’s pilot goals to offer precedence to areas underserved by public transit or present bike share applications.
Steely White says that LINK has “fewer questions of safety and it’s cheaper to function. So it will possibly serve the complete metropolis, not simply the rich areas.”
E-scooter rides often price $1 to start out and 20-30 cents a minute, which is able to seemingly be NYC’s worth vary. However Steely White mentioned that individuals on public help will get a roughly 90 % low cost, making their common journey 50 cents or much less.
The Metropolis Council in June voted to legalize the usage of electrical bikes and scooters within the metropolis. E-bikes and e-scooters have been legalized statewide when the state finances was handed on April 1. Helmets can be required of supply individuals and all riders beneath 18.
LINK operates in a number of U.S. cities already, and can launch in Rome in September.