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The EcoConsumer Blog ran from 2007 to 2013. It has been discontinued so that the EcoConsumer program can concentrate on other forms of social media and mainstream media.

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Green ride in Paris

 

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Green ride in Paris (3)

 

 

posted by: Tom Watson on Oct. 11, 2007

Many people probably don't need another reason to love Paris, but here's one: Velib', the city's new self-service bicycle-rental system that began operation three months ago.

The Paris mayor's idea to make the city greener and reduce traffic, these bicycles racked up nearly four million rides in the first two months, according to National Public Radio. Residents and tourists alike pick up the bikes at stations around the city, and can leave them at any other station. It makes for a quick and easy way to get around, without having to keep a bike with you all day long. Plans call for 20,000 bikes to be offered through this program by the end of the year.

Fees are about $1.40 U.S. for a one-day card, $7 for a weekly card and $41 for an annual card. For the first half-hour there is no additional charge, but there is a fee of about $1.50 for every 30 minutes after that. A credit-card deposit of about $200 is also required.

Which will be the first major U.S. city to launch this type of program? The mayors of New York and Chicago have both reportedly been impressed by the system.

But what about Seattle or Portland? Or how about San Francisco? The hills would make it a little tougher, especially for tourists not used to riding, but San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is already pushing for such a program there.

Bicycling is truly the future for livable cities. Along with this type of program to make the use of a bicycle more available, we've got to make bicycling safer in the cities. Bicyclists get hurt or killed in Seattle on a regular basis. Through our activism and votes, we can help bicycling - one of the healthiest and greenest activities there is - become as popular in U.S. cities as it is around the world.

You may also contact the King County EcoConsumer program manager online to ask a question or suggest a new blog topic.

(3) Comment(s)

posted by: Kneubuhl on May. 1, 2012

I love the idea of bikes becoming a more popular form of transportation. Good for the planet and good for one's health. It's a win-win. But I was raised in San Francisco and the thought of riding a bike around town stresses me out so bad, I'd probably die of a heart attack before my first ride. Old cities have a real (and expensive) challenge to make their cities bike-friendly, but there should be more emphasis on this when planners develop new areas and suburbs. As the potential dangers decrease, I believe the number of bicyclists will increase.

posted by: Sabrina on Nov. 2, 2009

The biggest barrier to bicycling isn't a lack of access to bicycles, which is what is solved by the Velib program. The biggest barrier is perceived safety, which in various studies gets read as the threat posed by passing cars or the threat of rain or darkness. Velib is fun but it isn't going to improve safety.

posted by: Malcolm Lambe on Oct. 13, 2007

I live in Paris and it's interesting that a third of the Velibs are in use after 10 PM - i.e. people taking a bike home after a night out. But I do wonder how many of them are inebriated - you see them wandering all over the road. The bike paths here are dangerous. French people don't respect them. Pedestrians use them, motorbikes and scooters use them, cars park across them and they are not connected - they start and stop and you have to go on to the road and being "aggressed" by the cars. It's not an ideal situation but it's a good start. Velib launched in Marseille yesterday. And they are already in Lyon. So that's the three biggest cities in France. Out of the 10,000 in Paris only 50 have been stolen. So far.

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Updated: Oct. 17, 2013


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