Providing Essential Workers in NYC With Safe, Free Transportation

Transportation Alternatives (TA), a longtime partner of NYLCV, is a nonprofit organization based in New York City that is striving to minimize automobile use and traffic. TA advocates for cleaner, quieter, and non-polluting transportation options to move around NYC, such as walking, biking, and public transit. Additionally, TA works to transform traffic enforcement policies, increase bicycle infrastructure, and eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a massive surge in bike utilization across New York City, TA has launched the Bike Match initiative. For delivery workers, healthcare employees, grocery store workers, and other people on the frontlines, biking is a great mode of transportation. Currently, biking is a safer way to meet social distancing requirements than carpooling or public transportation.

Through the Bike Match program, TA connects bicycles from NYC residents with those who need an alternative form of transportation to travel to essential jobs or run crucial errands. The online system uses a simple Google Form that anyone may fill out to either donate or receive a bicycle, all while practicing social distancing. Matches are made based on a combination of location, size, and bicycle type.

By the first week of April, 42 people had been connected with a new bicycle and 140 people had submitted through the form. By mid-April, 100 people had been matched with a bike.

In New York City, bike shops have reported a drastic increase in bicycle sales, and Citi Bike usage grew 67% throughout March. Since not everyone can afford a brand new bike and Citi Bike is not available citywide, Bike Match is a great alternative for those looking for a bicycle.

Not only is biking safer to protect oneself from getting sick, but biking has many environmental, economic, and social benefits:

  • Bikes do not directly release greenhouse gases or air pollutants like automobiles or generally use any fuel, thus reducing the amount of emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Bicycles are quiet, less disruptive, and take up significantly less space on the road. This allows people to travel to their destinations quicker, ameliorate traffic congestion, free up parking and road space, and increase pedestrian safety.
  • Bikes are cheaper to buy and maintain and have less negative impact on roads than automobiles.

NYLCV strongly encourages New Yorkers in need of a bike or those with unused bikes to utilize this service. Bike Match can be beneficial for those who have no other means of transportation to perform essential functions in time of crisis. Cutting down traffic and vehicle-use is always a great way to cut greenhouse gases, air pollutants, and noise within the City, and now it can help our frontline workers too.