Well, it was only a matter of time. Apparently, Citi Bikers are now using the bicycles to get their tipsy selves home at the end of the night. With stations in heavily-frequented nightlife areas, such as the Meatpacking District and Soho, it's no wonder that the thrifty-minded have taken to cycling themselves home, rather than shelling out cash for a cab. The problem? They're operating the bicycles drunk, and no one's really sure what the rules are.
Though the Citi Bike user agreement prohibits riding "under the influence of any alcohol, drugs, medication, or other substance," it's technically not illegal to cycle after a couple of drinks, according city legislation. Plus, there aren't exactly checkpoints set up or any system in place for monitoring the B.A.C of cyclists.
According to the New York Times , some users say they're more likely to go out at night and even venture farther than their own neighborhoods using the bike program than they would if they relied on the buses or subway. And though emergency room and city officials haven't seen any significant increases in bike-related accidents since the program began, drunk cycling can certainly take a financial toll: Late fees are as high as $24 an hour, while fees for improperly checking in your bike are in the triple digits. As one user, Jillian, told the NYT, "They're hard enough to use when I'm sober. Forget when I'm drunk." Yet despite serious fines (and some accounts of broken toes), Citi Bike members continue to drink and bike.
Though the program offers an opportunity for great exercise and allows us all to save money, we're curious to see just how many of these bar-crawling bikers hang on once the temperatures drop and the snow starts falling. Perhaps this onset of intoxicated cyclists is a mere seasonal blip. (New York Times)