Paris Embraces Plan to Become City of Bikes


The Velo’v public bicycle system in Lyon, France. By the end of 2007 the city of Paris will have 1,450 bike stations offering 20,000 bicycles.

The Washington Post reports:

On July 15, the day after Bastille Day, Parisians will wake up to discover thousands of low-cost rental bikes at hundreds of high-tech
bicycle stations scattered throughout the city, an ambitious program to cut traffic, reduce pollution, improve parking and enhance the city’s image as a greener, quieter, more relaxed place.

The program was meant "not just to modify the equilibrium between the
modes of transportation and reduce air pollution, but also to modify
the image of the city and to have a city where humans occupy a larger
space."

The Socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, has the
same aim, said his aide, Jean-Luc Dumesnil: "We think it could change
Paris’s image — make it quieter, less polluted, with a nicer
atmosphere, a better way of life."

But
there is a practical side, too, Dumesnil said. A recent study analyzed
different trips in the city "with a car, bike, taxi and walking, and
the bikes were always the fastest.
"

"It’s
faster than the bus or metro, it’s good exercise, and it’s almost
free," said Vianney Paquet, 19, who is studying law in Lyon. Paquet
said that he uses the rental bikes four or five times a day and pays 10
euros (about $13) a year, half for an annual membership fee and half
for rental credit that he never actually spends because his rides
typically last just a few minutes.


Photo: Chris73, Wikipedia.

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