bike + subway +rush hour

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Anonymous's picture

I know its not ideal, but can I take my bike on the subway during rush hour?



Anonymous's picture
Mark Trainor (not verified)
bike + subway + rush hour

It's not ideal, it's idiotic. You should avoid bringing your bike on the subway during rush hour.


Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)

Look, don't jump down the guy's throat. If someone is taking his or her bike on the train, it's probably because the bike is not rideable, or the weather is really bad, or some other circumstances prevent riding. It's gonna happen now and then.

If it's rush hour, go to the front or the back of the platform, whichever is the least populated. If the train car's packed, then wait for the next train.

I have taken my bike on a crowded 6 train going uptown, and more recently, I bought a bike with unrideable wheels, so had to get onto the 2 train at Park Place at afternoon rush hour. Same experience in both situations: I got a few dirty looks, but nobody was the worse for the experience.

I see a bike as the same as a baby carriage or one of those large suitcases on wheels. You and your bike have a right to be there, but don't be obnoxious. Don't block the doors; keep the bike under control so it doesn't hit other people; in general try to be unobtrusive.

Let the posting begin!

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Very Good Response

And completely within MTA guidelines for bicycles.

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
MTA guidelines for bikes essentially say don't try in rush hour

The very first MTA guideline for taking bicycles on the NYC subways reads as follows:

1. Try not to use the subway during rush hour:
Avoid rush-hour crowds. Bicycles can create dangerous situations when they prevent people from moving.

also note this:

7. Follow instructions from New York City Police, station and train personnel. To ensure everybody's safety, New York City Police and subway personnel may decide your bicycle is causing a hazardous situation, obstructing passenger movement or interfering with train operations. Be prepared to follow their directions.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
bike, baby carriage, large suitcases

Only one has the Schwebber factor and a large surface area with ground-n-grit exposure. I don't think folks dressed in business attire heading to work see them as the same.

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

Absolutely right, strollers are much more loathsome.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
more loathsome, sure

"Hmmm, I'm not so sure about that. For instance, what if the cyclist is using the subway post-ride. Raise your hand if you're sure!"

Anonymous's picture
Kate (not verified)

"personally I find the bikers to be more respectful than the ""mommy brigade"". I can't tell you how many times I've been rammed by a mom with her stoller without so much as an ""excuse me"". I believe it's an entitlement thing - I pushed the baby out therefore I'm entitled to push you out of my way! UGH!!! I have never been pushed out of the way by a biker with their rides - in my experience they have been apologetic...."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Urban commuting - Brompton

"How about bikers who are also stroller pushing parents? Are they only 1/2 respectful? Or is it a mutual exclusive thing?

While we're at it - how about wheelchair users? Aren't they a pushy bunch subject to entitlement, too? Afterall they get to freely use the much preferred subway entrance gate doors and platform elevators, the best parking spaces and get to start the NYC marathon before everyone else (except certain NYCC bikers ;-)

The absolute universal truth is parents with babies and toddlers are less inclined to take the subway during rush hour. There's other transportation options like taking a cab or travelling by bicycle. For those who do ride the subway with their progeny during rush hour its more likely they do so because those other options are beyond their economic means. (Bikes may be relatively cheap but they compete for precious apartment space w/ kiddie goodies).
Rush hour or emptiest time of day, taking a stroller on a subway rates is just a tad bit less pleasant than visiting the dentist.

Sure you are allowed to take a bike onto a subway during rush hour crowds. One is also free to walk down the street and flip every he sees the bird. It may not always be a bad (or good) experience.

If you do decide to regularly take a bike on the subway at such time, I highly recommend a Brompton folding bike. They are great for manuevering in tight traffic spots, taking into shops, are the fastest to fold and are most compact whne folded. Also when folded the greasy chain is not exposed to you or to others.

You will also have no trouble taking your Brompton bike on board NJ Transit and MetroNorth trains (so long as you have a Bike MN bike permit during weekdays/rushours.

What you will be subject to is alot of inquisitive questions and remarks like, ""Where do you purchase one?"" or ""How much do they cost?"" or ""Is that really a bike?""

If you're really serious about subway-bike commuting, I highly recommend doing so with a Brompton. That's my real life story and I'm sticking to it."

Anonymous's picture
Kate (not verified)

If you bring your bike on the subway at rush hour and you yield to commuters but once behind the stoller you assume that everyone must get out of your way or be run over then 1/2 respectful would apply.

My point I attempting to make was I've had damage done to my achilles tendon on a number of occassions by stoller derby parents and never have I had a run in with a biker (or a person in a wheelchair for that matter).

Anonymous's picture
Fendergal (not verified)
While we're at it...

"While we're at it - how about wheelchair users? Aren't they a pushy bunch subject to entitlement, too?

I trust from your tone that you're kidding, eh? In my twelve years of living in NYC, I never seen that many wheelchair users on the subways--I can't even recall one. Given the paucity of subway elevators, most opt for the buses.

""The absolute universal truth is parents with babies and toddlers are less inclined to take the subway during rush hour.""

Really? An absolute universal truth? Then why do I see so many strollers on the train at all times of the day? In many situations I've encountered recently, the stroller-handler was blocking the doors, without even a token effort to get out of the way.

Sure you are allowed to take a bike onto a subway during rush hour crowds. One is also free to walk down the street and flip every he sees the bird. It may not always be a bad (or good) experience.

Ah, nothing like equating a bike to an obscene gesture.

If you do decide to regularly take a bike on the subway at such time, I highly recommend a Brompton folding bike.

My point is that most cyclists don't endeavor to take their bikes on the train on a regular basis. It happens now and then, usually when you don't expect it (like when the front wheel on my commuter was stolen). So one should buy a folding bike just for those occasions? No thanks, I'll stick with my Motobecane.

Anonymous's picture
Kate (not verified)
thanks! you said it a heck of a lot better than I did! (nm)
Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

Oh, I wasn't joking. The Bugaboo Frog is the Upper West Side equivalent of a Hummer H2. I loathe those, too.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
Yes, you can.

"Would I recommend it? Probably not.

I've never done it myself. But I heard a lengthy recount of one such experience:

First, getting on: If it's REALLY crowded, you know better than to even try to get on. So, having to wait for the next, or maybe even the one after the next, train is a likely scenario.

Second, staying put: During off-hours, it's relatively easy to find a spot that are out of people's way. Not so during rush hours. My friends ended up having to work their way slowly IN so that after maybe 5 stops, they were finally out of the ""traffic"" of people getting on and off. Just about the time when they should be get off!

Finally, getting off: If you did find a spot out of the doorway for the ride, you now have to face the problem of working your way back towards the door before your intended stop! To make a long story short, my friends didn't make it out the door at their stop. Instead of facing the same problem again on the train of the opposite direction, they rode from 96th to 72nd St. (It was the 2/3 train they were on)

Oh yea, forget about the express trains! The train may look reasonably empty when you get on. It can fill up fast at some of the ""big"" stops like 42nd St. etc., boxing you solidly IN. If you really, really need to use the subway during rush hours, local trains are much, much better.

There's rush hour. Then there's RUSH hour. I wouldn't even think about doing it between 8-9. On the other hand, 5 o'clock may be ""officially"" rush hour. The trains aren't nearly as jammed as in the morning for most days. You got the drift..."

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)
When & Where IS important

"Point well made. I don't do it often; usually if it's bad weather in the evening, yet I rode in the morning during good weather, or I'm far from home & tired, or it's very early a.m. and I have to get to the distant meeting point of a club ride.

I've found that certain subway lines or station stops were easier to get on the train than others. For example, from midtown, going out to Queens during evening rush hour, the E at 42nd St. seems to be far less crowded than the F at 42nd or at Rockefeller Center. Evening rush hour to the Bronx, the B local will be way less crowded than the D express.

Since I live at the north end of the D, getting on and off the train with the bike is no problem. I figure ""first come, first serve"", so if I'm on the train, and it gets crowded later, I'm staying put until my destination. But if I'm trying to get on the evening rush hour D, which is almost always packed, I usually have to wait for a less crowded train. So far in my experience people have been pretty patient & tolerant about bikes on the train.

The first and last cars tend to be less crowded; also the ends rather than the middle of the car are better; you aren't in the way of as many people trying to enter & exit the car."

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