If you live in a large city, such as Sydney, New York, or Paris, odds are that you have faced the very serious problem of automotive congestion in the downtown areas. There are a few solutions that so far have been implemented to try and solve the problem, the most famous one is the one introduced in London, where one has to pay to bring in their vehicle to the downtown district. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried proposing a similar system for his city, only to find himself unable to bring it to fruition. Well, the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe , has decided that another way to solve this problem is to provide to people access to cheap alternative, mass transportation, the Velib Bike System.

While Paris is not the only city that has implemented a system such as this, Stockholm, Vienna, Brussels, Barcelona, and even Lyons have similar systems, this is believed to be the largest attempt at providing a low-cost biking sharing system provided by a government. The idea is simple, locate enough stations around the metro stations in the city, and you give commuters different options to travel to and from work, diminishing the need for the use of their automobiles. As of this moment the city has installed over 10,500 bicycles, and is expected to double that number by the end of the year. As you can imagine, these bikes were designed with heavy use in mind as each bike is expected to be used between 10 and 15 times per day by different passengers. They are meant to be tough, the components are hidden, and the materials chosen for the frame are heavier that the standard commercial bikes.

So, is biking to your job an option? Plenty of people seem to think so. Bike sharing services have been sprouting all around Europe. Furthermore, with the importance being placed on reducing traffic congestion, the idea of providing for biking services seems like an attractive proposition. Take for instance this editorial by David Haskell, which recently appeared in the New York Times. In it, he calls for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to emulate what’s happening in Paris and implement a similar plan for New York. Think about it, how many people really need their cars to move around Manhattan? This would be a proposition suitable to the city, and one which the Mayor’s office could implement very easily and cheaply. And the best place to start would be the new World Trade Centre development, or at least, that’s what the planners for the project seem to think, as they are proposing a bike sharing program to be installed in the complex.

+ Velib
+ The Path of Least Congestion @ NYT

+ Parisians say: Let them ride bikes @ The Star