Interesting Stuff

Peddlers Proliferate In Paris

As a humble public service, the GUARDIAN has explored the Paris low rent bicycle plan which has been in operation less than a month. We offer this account so the rest of you can make suggestions for a workable plan. Pictures show the bike ranks with electronic locks, a biker, and the credit card self service screen.

The “Velib” scheme in Paris has 10,000 bicycles at 750 hire points every 300 meters (about a quarter mile) around Paris, with plans for 20,000 bikes at 1400 hire points by the year end.

The bikes are available for hire at any time of the day or night after lodging a $240 deposit with your credit card at an automated vending station or “rank.”

Parisians appear to be enjoying their new found pedal power. In the first three weeks of the world’s biggest bike rental scheme, the 48lb machines were borrowed 1.2 million times. Each is being used six times a day on average, usually for the short trips that are encouraged by the pricing scheme.
The first half hour is free, with prices rising to about $1.50 for every extra half hour. When the bike is returned, your credit card is rebated the deposit. Returns can be made at any of the official stands–not just the originating site. We are not certain about the actual rates, but they are low and aimed at getting people out of cars.

London is looking at copying the French scheme and there will no doubt be a bunch of Small Town USA mayors taking “fact finding trips” to Paris. The GUARDIAN has done the trip for Boise politicos for free and the rest of the work can be done via internet.

Boise could never generate 1.2 million rentals in three years–let alone three weeks! It certainly has merit in the downtown area. A “yellow bike” plan for free bikes fell flat when the bikes were all stolen or vandalized.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Dave, Thanks for the various updates on practical peddaling around the world. It is fun to see what could be coming our way in the form of bikes and transportation alternatives.

    Note to Bikeboy- I think BG is becoming your competition…..LOL

  2. Boise tried something similar with its yellow bike program back in the 1990s. Didn’t seem to work out too well because them yellow bikes is all gone. C’est fini, on dite en francais.

  3. Colleen Fellows
    Aug 13, 2007, 2:09 pm

    One opponent I heard speaking about the Yellow Bike program when it attempted to ride in New York City was who would be liable for injuries suffered by bicyclists and those involved in related accidents from a free-use system. Seems that New Yorkers didn’t share the easygoing attitudes of the originating Portlanders. My question is, where is Portland’s Yellow Bike program now, and where do Boise attitudes lay in relation to legal responsibility? Interesting topic after Sunday’s article in the local Boise paper concerning the number of individuals involved in bicycle-traffic related injuries.

  4. Colleen Fellows
    Aug 13, 2007, 2:16 pm

    Where were the bicycle helmet rentals?

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: