New York City Bike-Share Program Imposes Weight Limits

People are expressing outrage with the city’s newest transit alternative, the bike-share program, finding the implemented weight restriction mentioned in the user-policy ridiculous.

Citi Bike – a soon-to-launch bike share system that will provide the units at self-service docking kiosks, with both short and long term membership rates – is under fire for limiting the weight of renters to 260 pounds. There is also an age restriction of 16 and older based on the terms on Citi Bike’s website, but people seem more focused on the issue of BMI.

New York City has a population of over 8 million, much of which consists of dense urban areas best traversed by subway. In a metropolis with non-existent parking and increasing gas prices influencing the cost of public transit and taxis, the bike-share model is extremely appealing and affordable in comparison.

Annual memberships run around $100, weekly $25, and 24-hour $9.95. The penalty for losing a bike is $1,000.

Thousands of members have already signed up in advance for the program, which will allow them to rent and return bikes to any station. The plan is to have over 600 Citi Bike share stations providing access to 10,000 bikes by next year. Citi Bike is projected to generate $36 million in annual local economic activity.

According to the New York Post, everyone who signs up for the program has to agree to a contract, which states users cannot exceed a maximum weight limit of 260 pounds because the bikes can’t accommodate heavier users.

Would-be riders deem the restriction unfair, senseless, and discriminatory, saying the 40-pound cruisers are plenty sturdy. Several bike-shop owners also agreed that the weight limit is absolutely bogus.

Perhaps the more provocative argument is if a person is overweight, isn’t the goal for them to utilize the bike-share program – opting for a healthier, more active means of travel?

The New York City Department of Transportation doesn’t intend to strictly enforce the weight clause but clarifies the measure is not meant to be insensitive – the provision was included in the contract for legal reasons at the recommendation of the manufacturer.

[Image via Shutterstock]