MANHATTAN, NY (BRAIN) — The bike industry in New York and nationally is pitching in to help commuters use bikes in post-Sandy New York City this week.
The industry and advocates are making the most of an opportunity to help people use their bikes, in hope that they will continue to do so when transportation in the city returns to normal.
Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives set up aid stations on three bridges into the city on Thursday, and also is manning a station at mid-town on 6th Avenue, one of the busiest bike routes in the city.
The stations offer maps, route advice and tips, mechanical assistance, floor pumps and coffee, TA executive director Paul White told BRAIN Thursday.
"By all accounts there are thousands of new bicyclists on the streets today," White said. "There is a lot of bicycle ownership in New York City; what we are seeing is people putting those bikes to work."
White said the bike industry has stepped up to help, as well. Several retailers are offering post-Sandy discounts and free safety checks, and extending the Transportation Alternative member discount to all New Yorkers.
White said Fuji and Trek have offered to help any way they can and Planet Bike is shipping cases of blinkie lights to be distributed to new commuters free.
Non-cycling businesses also are chipping in, with some restaurants offering food at the aid stations. Brooklyn Roasters is providing the coffee.
Manhattan employers are being encouraged to allow workers to bring their bikes into their buildings for parking this week.
Sandy is presenting the best opportunity since a 2005 transit strike to help New Yorkers see bikes as viable transportation, White said. During the transit strike, however, temperatures were frigid. By comparison, New York has been enjoying dry, cool conditions since Sandy departed Tuesday.
Transportation Alternatives is tracking bike use at several bridges Thursday and plans to release some statistics later showing bike use his week compared to previous studies.