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 attempting to get her fingers 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 Options’ bike match program.
“My household and mates despatched me hyperlinks to this system,” she stated. “I’m so completely happy. They don’t understand how a lot this implies.”
Villaveccs was one in every of 50 well being care, transportation and meals employees who had been gifted new bicycles on Friday via this system.
The bikes had been donated by the micro-mobility firm Superpedestrian. And for enjoyable, recipients bought an opportunity to test-drive Superpedestrian’s new “good” LINK electrical scooters.
With bicycles in brief provide as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the sturdy 3-speed bikes, value roughly $1,000, are a godsend, the recipients stated. The employees registered for the bicycles via Transportation Options, in addition to via Make the Street New York and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Aneta Wojtowicz, a bodily therapist at Montefiore Hospital, stated she has been on a ready listing for a motorbike for months. Wojtowicz was thrilled to obtain one on Friday, and plans to experience 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 favor taking a motorbike,” she stated.
Park Slope resident Sam Faria says he’s going to experience his new bicycle to work on the Dealer Joe’s in Soho.
“Everybody’s biking proper now,” he stated. “My coworker bought a motorbike via this system. Once I noticed that I stated, ‘I want this,’ and signed up.”
“To have my very own bike is great,” stated Jasmine Billups, an important employee with the MTA in Downtown Brooklyn. She plans to experience her bike for train.
This system (aka #BikeMatch) normally matches New Yorkers who’ve an additional bike with important employees who want one, Transportation Different’s Em Friedenberg informed the Eagle.
“This system has been operating via the pandemic. We’ve matched a couple of hundred important employees in New York Metropolis,” and the idea has unfold to roughly 30 different cities, she stated.
However on this case, Superpedestrian donated 50 bicycles abruptly — a giant win for important employees.
As an added perk, the NYC Division of Transportation gave the recipients free bicycle helmets.
Taking a sensible e-scooter for a spin
This fortunate reporter additionally bought an opportunity to check out Superpedestrian’s LINK e-scooter on the occasion (Woo hoo!). I used to be curious how exhausting it could be to experience, 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 experience. 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 identical to using an everyday scooter, besides you don’t should 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.) The 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 scorching 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 accredited by New York Metropolis for all of the boroughs besides Manhattan, and Superpedestrian will probably be one of many firms responding to town’s upcoming request for proposals. A pilot program may launch as early as March, 2021 — so prepare for Brooklyn to be e-scooter central subsequent 12 months.
Different firms prone to take part within the RFP embody well-known names like Lime, Fowl and Lyft. Nonetheless, Superpedestrian thinks its scooters will shine as a result of they had 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 computerized techniques monitoring. They know if they’ve fallen over, if the brakes are failing, or if somebody is attempting to experience over the Brooklyn Bridge (that’s a no-no). The scooters are additionally additional 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 instantly on the scooters, they usually don’t depend on cell connections to speak to the cloud,” he stated. “Speaking to the cloud takes time, and [by then] the scooter could possibly be properly contained in the pedestrian space or sidewalk.” With onboard geofencing, “Even should you hit the accelerator, you may’t go into the delicate zone.”
The scooters can journey as much as 55 miles on a single cost, so the corporate should recharge them much less usually than the everyday e-scooter, he added.
In Chicago and different cities, one downside e-scooters posed throughout preliminary pilots was that piles of scooters had been discarded in the public right of way. Steely White stated LINK’s know-how prevents customers from parking scooters the place they’re not wished, reminiscent of on sidewalks.
In its first pilot, Chicago additionally failed to ensure the e-scooters had been obtainable in areas missing transit choices (Chicago has mounted that in their current pilot program). New York Metropolis’s pilot goals to provide precedence to areas underserved by public transit or present bike share applications.
Steely White says that LINK has “fewer issues of safety and it’s cheaper to function. So it may possibly serve the complete metropolis, not simply the rich areas.”
E-scooter rides normally price $1 to start out and 20-30 cents a minute, which is able to possible be NYC’s value vary. However Steely White stated 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 had been legalized statewide when the state finances was handed on April 1. Helmets will probably 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.