The Future of New York Meets the Future of Transportation
For the past four years, Citi Bike has been cultivating an early love of biking through the Bike Share for Youth Program.
Adults take over the conversations regarding the future of bike share, it is easy to forget that kids are the ones who fully embody the joy and excitement we all feel when riding a bike. Whether biking with friends to begin their summer break or riding to get to their part-time job; kids, teenagers, and young adults are commonly the most avid cyclists in the world.
Bike Share for Youth is a program that connects young adults 16-24 years old with a free annual membership and a bike helmet. In order to receive the membership, the participants must take a workshop taught by certified instructors from Bike New York. Citi Bike wants to ensure these new members are riding safely and confidently in the city.
Bike Share for Youth was created to address certain “barriers to bike share” that students may face; including safety and accessibility to the growing bike share network. The program gives NYC youth useful skills when riding in the sometimes intimidating streets of NYC. In addition, the program covers the cost of a yearly membership. Participants mention the price tag to utilize bike has been a barrier and that they may never have ridden without Bike Share for Youth.
In Citi Bike’s continuous efforts to make bike share more equitable, we want to be sure that students are recognized as an integral part of this growing community and have access.
Since its start in 2016, Citi Bike has signed up close to 300 young adults. The participants are some of the most avid Citi Bike riders in the whole system, with close to half taking at least 10 rides per month. In addition, they have proven to love the “video game feel” that Bike Angels brings, commonly comparing it to interactive apps like Pokemon Go! Participants even have internal competitions with their cohort to see who can rack up the most points.
The current members of Bike Share for Youth have all found amazingly creative was to utilize bike share. For example, many participants mention being able to explore new neighborhoods that seemed out-of-reach before such as Williamsburg and Astoria. Others have gotten jobs with Postmates while others fly by morning traffic on their way to school. One participant, Elisa, says the nearest train station from her home is 30 minutes away walking. She now uses Citi Bike to get there much faster - sometimes riding all the way into Manhattan! “If you live in an apartment,” she says, “it's hard to get a bike from your apartment to the street so biking was solely something I did maybe once or twice in the summer with a rental.” Now, Elisa and the rest of her classmates commute on bike to school in the Lower East Side.
The Bike Share for Youth class will continue to grow, scale, and offer this opportunity across the entire city. Next time you see a young adult riding in NYC, they could be one of the many New Yorkers trendsetting Citi Bike through Bike Share for Youth!