Biking in NYC for Tourists

The extremely congested traffic and high taxi prices have made biking one of the most common forms of transportation in New York City. While more and more residents of New York City are choosing to ride a bike throughout the city, it is also possible for a tourist to visit all of the major attractions on a bike thanks to the massive amount of bike shops and the new Citi Bike system.

Renting Bikes Around Central Park

central park walk

central park walk (Photo credit: juanjolostium)

While there are bike rental shops throughout the city, most of them are located near Central Park or in central Manhattan. Central Park allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of the 840 acre park without having to walk. Once you have enjoyed all of the plant life, art work, wild animals and the other entertainment options in Central Park, you just drop off your bike off to the rental shop. You will pay a small fee for the bike rental based on how long you had the bike. All of the bikes come with free helmets, locks and maps of the area, and there are even bike tours of Central Park available.

While these bike rental shops near Central Park are mostly used to travel the park, they do not mind if you use the bike to visit the other attractions in New York City. If you do not want to head to Central Park or one of the bike rental shops spread throughout the city to obtain a bike, then you can always use the Citi Bike system.

Citi Bike System

Citi Bike in NYC

Citi Bike in NYC (Photo credit: Inhabitat)

Citi Bike is a city wide bike rental system that begin in May 2013. There are 330 Citi Bike stations located throughout the city that hold just over 4,300 bikes. Daily, weekly and yearly passes are available for the Citi Bike system based on your expected usage. The biggest problem people are having is the limited amount of time you are allowed to have the bike before penalties occur. Yearly pass holders are allowed to ride any Citi Bike for up 45 minutes for free. If you have a daily or weekly pass, then you are only able to ride the bike for 30 minutes. This extra fee can be easily avoided by docking your bike at a Citi Bike location prior to the time limit and then immediately obtaining another bike at the same location.

While it is nice to get around the city on a bike and avoid the high taxi fees, it is virtually impossible to avoid the congested traffic of New York City while riding a bike. Bikers are forced to share the road with cars on most streets in the city. When there are designated bike lanes, they are usually blocked by parked cars or large trucks unloading goods.

Rules of the Road

While New York City is a very bike friendly place, there are still several laws that every bicyclist must follow. Bike must be ridden with the flow of traffic on the street and can not be used on any sidewalks. You also have to treat as any other vehicle and give hand signals when making turns. Helmets are not required for anyone over 16, but they are highly recommended.

Now that you know where to find a bicycle and the laws of the city, you can save some money by biking during your entire stay in New York City.

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