Well Being

David Byrne’s Bike Racks Public-Art-You-Can-Sort-Of-Lock-Your-Bike-To Get Mixed Reception In NYC

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david byrne bike rack
David Byrne loves bikes so much, he's written a book about riding his bicycle all over the world. And he loves biking at home in New York so much, he designed some bike racks to go up around the city. A few went up in Brooklyn (pictured above), but the New York City Design Commission rejected others that were supposed to go up around the city, supposedly for political reasons (according to his personal blog). We're not sure what their problem with them is, but we just wish they were a little more functional.

Bike Snob, the famed snarky bike blogger, described the oh-so-pretty bike racks, which spell out the phrases “pink crown” and “micro lip” in front of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Fort Greene:

With a typical u-lock you can just about secure the bike by the front wheel only.  Now that's good design.

I'm all for public art, and I love bike racks that are designed with both form and function in mind–“both” being the operative word.

The problem is, cities with dense populations and a considerable number of bikers often have a hard time supplying enough places to securely (and legally) park a bike. Even Byrne admits that it can be a bitch trying to lock up a bike: ““I get to BAM fairly often, and the existing racks are often full, so it’s great that there will now be more.”

He makes it sound like a frivolous addition, but when the only bike rack on your block looks like this…

bike rack

…it's less amusing that the additional racks are barely able to hold one bike per funky metal letter.

Byrne says that the “cultural gatekeepers” are blocking his other designs from being placed in front of The New Museum and other New York City locales; we hope whoever's designs make it past are just a little more useful for actual bikers.

Photo: BAM