New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made public health a central aspect of his ambitious citywide initiatives, which include banning trans fats, seeking to outlaw large sodas, and laying down miles of new bikes lanes.
In his latest effort, the city will soon roll out a new bike-share program that will allow anyone to rent a bike — so long as they don't weigh too much.
As the New York Post noted Thursday in typical New York Post fashion, prospective cyclists must first sign a contract that specifically bars anyone over a certain weight limit from enrolling.
From the Post:
Can obese cyclists sign up for the city’s new bike-share program? Fat chance!
It is "prohibited" for any rider who weighs more than 260 pounds to sign up for the soon-to-launch initiative — prompting backlash from riders who say the fat-shaming rule is enough to make them fly off the handle. [New York Post]
Understandably, that prompted some head-scratching from the Post and others. The program is partly intended to promote healthy lifestyles, and banning overweight riders — and possibly tall and muscle-bound riders as well — seems to defeat the purpose.
"That’s bogus. 260 pounds isn't going to break the bike," one woman told the Post. "To me, that's discrimination. And I'm not easily offended!"
The city contends the weight limit is hardly a form of discrimination, but rather a safety measure to ensure the bikes don't crumple and spill riders into the street. Bike share programs in other cities feature similar weight limits, with both Boston and Washington, D.C., capping riders' weight at 260 pounds.
"These technical specs are established by the equipment manufacturer and are the same as other bike share cities around the world and standard on commercially available bikes and components," Department of Transportation spokesperson, Seth Solomonow, told Gothamist. "We expect people will use the bikes safely."
And structural integrity of the frames aside, the city won't be cracking down on hefty riders. As the DOT's policy director told the Post, the department would have a tough time enforcing the policy even if it wanted to, saying, "I think people will be self-selecting, practical and safe."
So while a weight limit technically exists, the city won't necessarily be kicking overweight riders to the curb this summer.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- How foreign aid screwed up Liberia's ability to fight Ebola
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
Subscribe to the Week