Does New York City's new bike-sharing program discriminate against overweight people? Its rental contract suggests so.
"You must not exceed the maximum weight limit for the Citi Bike bicycle (260 pounds)," states the Citi Bike agreement under "Prohibited Acts."
Bike shop owners told the New York Post that the weight limit was unnecessary for the sturdy bikes used. One student railed at the city for backpedaling on a move that could help ease an obesity epidemic.
“If you’re 260 pounds or 300 pounds and want to ride a bike, you should be allowed to," Jhoskaira Ferman told the tabloid. "You’re making a choice to live healthier and to lose weight.”
The rule also could technically affect taller people who naturally carry more weight.
According to the Citi Bike website, the bicycles are priced at $10 for a day pass, $25 for a week or $95 for a year.
The bicycles have been distributed by Alta Bicycle Share, the Oregon company behind bike programs in Washington, D.C., and London. While Washington also posts a 260-pound ceiling, the London contract limits the total weight on the bike to 115 kilograms, or 253 pounds.
The Post criticized New York's contract language for its "fat-shaming," but Department of Transportation Policy Director Jon Orcutt told the tabloid that the city would not "strictly enforce" the rule. The wording was inserted as a liability provision, he added.
According to CBS, Citi Bike is rolling out this month, with 5,000 bicycles at nearly 300 stations.