General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

What if 75% of New Yorks commuters took to the streets on bicycles any given day?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9109 points ) December 6th, 2010

What would occur if bicycles were suddenly the preferred means of transportation in a city with a megapopulace? Maybe gas goes over $10 a gallon….

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9 Answers

koanhead's avatar

First of all, they’d probably all fit in one lane- but they would use them all anyway I reckon.
If it was a one-day phenomenon then there would be a ton of bicycle accidents, since most of those riders would be inexperienced or inept. Car and truck traffic would crawl at best, since inexperienced cyclists would not know how to interact with the vehicles and most drivers are clueless about interacting with bicycles (or any other vehicles).
If it was a regular thing, then the city in question would get to look a lot more like many cities in Asia and Europe where many folks use bicycles for transport, except that it would have wider streets.
However, I think even at $10 a gallon most American city-dwellers will drive as much as they can afford to… and of course suburban burghers have little choice.

wundayatta's avatar

75% of commuters is probably at least a million people. A million bicycles on the streets of New York would be a disaster worse than any disaster movie has ever visited on the city. This is not something you would want to visit on any city.

Unless you hated cities.

zenvelo's avatar

The subway would be empty. But it would be chaotic in the streets because the cabbies would still be looking for fares. But it would be great if no motor vehicles were allowed on Broadway.

Carly's avatar

the streets would still be crowded.

cookieman's avatar

It would look like Beijing. Lots of bicycle commuting going on there.

koanhead's avatar

@wundayatta How is a million bicycles a bigger disaster than a million cars? I’m pretty sure that Beijing and many other cities worldwide host a larger number of cycles than that daily.

wundayatta's avatar

@koanhead Well of course a million cars would be more of a disaster than a million bicycles on the streets. What city are you talking about?

koanhead's avatar

@wundayatta I just meant that the million bicycles would be instead of the million cars rather than in addition to the cars, because I was assuming that 75% of NY commuters commute by car.
I’m not married to that assumption though.

bolwerk's avatar

If the shift came proportionately from cars, it would probably work splendidly. A bike takes up far less space than a car, and pollutes much less.

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