November 10, 2009

Public Bike Schemes ::: Dublin and Paris Going Strong!

Dublin Public Bike Sharing (photo by Michael Levin)

None of us see life as it is, the world as it is. We all see life as we are. We look at others through our own likes and dislikes, desires and interests. It is this separatist outlook that fragments life for us – man against woman, community against community, country against country. Yet the mystics of all religions assure us on the strength of their own experience, if only we throw away this fragmenting instrument of observation, we shall see all life as an indivisible whole. Eknath Easwaran, from Words to Live by

Dublin, Ireland and Paris, France recently rolled out Public Bike Sharing Schemes…

Paris’s bike sharing scheme, called ” Vélib’ “, was implemented first. Vandals have stolen and damaged bikes and disrupted the system, but it continues to flourish. Dublin’s program is much newer. It started in October. Holland had legendary problems with its bike sharing scheme. Bikes theft was the biggest problem.

But, basically it’s a fantastic idea. In Dublin, you register and then the first 30 minutes are free. Many of Dublins bikes were donated by an advertiser, which works well for the city and for the advertiser. A rider I talked with during the recent marathon weekend in Dublin said he loved the bikes. The bikes in Dublin are distinctive, so they would be hard to hide if stolen.

Dublin Bike Scheme (photo by Michael Levin)

It’s not as simple as just getting some bikes donated to the city to get a bike sharing program going. A registration mechanism is necessary, bike mechanics must be employed, infrastructure such as parking racks are also needed. But the costs are outweighed by the benefits. People are just jazzed by the programs. It’s a positive thing. I mean, people just like the fact that they are helping the environment, staying in shape and the sheer convenience of having a bike to ride in town. It’s also convenient for tourists.

Dublin Bikes at a DART stop (photo by Michael Levin)

Although it takes a significant effort, bike sharing schemes are becoming more popular and people love them. Bravo!

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