At Bloomberg’s shark tank unveiling, he talks about the fear of bicycles

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Bloomberg at the New York Aquarium. (Dana Rubinstein)
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At an event unveiling the design for a brand new, $130-million shark exhibit at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered some questions about bike share, bikes, and people's fear of them.

"I have a friend who was hit by a bicycle in Central Park just last week, got a concussion, and it really is disturbing when it happens," said the mayor. "That's the bad news. The good news is it really happens very seldom."

The Daily News has been on a tear recently, sending reporters armed with speed guns into Central Park to record speeding cyclists, and today, on its front page, featuring the story of a blind man who was hit by a cyclist and suffered a fractured pelvis, among other injuries.

Asked about the issue today, the mayor, whose transportation commissioner has vastly expanded the city's cycling infrastructure and is generally quite popular with cycling enthusiasts, cautioned against overreaction. 

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"Keep in mind, the number of people hit by bicycles is really, very, very small, particularly if you look at the number of pedestrians that are hit by automobiles or trip and fall," he said.

"What we've got to do is understand that if we want to have more bicycle lanes and more bicycles, bicyclists are going to have to, like everybody else, act responsibly," he continued, adding, "and if you did a front page article on everybody that was hit by an automobile, you'd never have another front page."

Speaking of bicycles, a reporter asked about the city's bike share program, Citi Bike, which was supposed to launch by the end of July, but hasn't. Other cities launching similar programs with the same operator, Alta Bicycle Share, have also been experiencing delays.

Both Alta and the administration have been oddly tight-lipped about the reason why, with the mayor simply referring, repeatedly, to "software" problems.

Today was no different.

"We're getting very close," he said. "Look, everybody wants to say there's a secret agenda here. The software doesn't work. And putting it out when the software doesn't work, it wouldn't work. Period. And so we're trying to find out when we can put a date that we're sure or reasonably sure that it will work. And we're trying."

Here are some renderings of that aforementioned shark exhibit, which will feature 40 individual sharks and replace the existing exhibit, pictured below.

From the outside:

 

From the inside:

 

As it is now: