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

Via on Nov 10, 2009
Dublin Public Bike Sharing
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
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
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!

About Michael Levin

Michael loves sharing what he's learned about organic lifestyles like living off the grid and bicycle commuting. He calls it "lifestyle entrepreneurship". He's into organic gardening, mindful living, and realizes that we only have this life and each other. His favorite quote is "The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both." (James A. Michener)

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45 Responses to “Public Bike Schemes ::: Dublin and Paris Going Strong!”

  1. Great idea…would it work in US cities?

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by cameron burgess, John in Boulder. John in Boulder said: Public Bike Schemes ::: Dublin and Paris Going Strong!: None of us see life as it is, the world as it is. We all see lif http://url4.eu/igW7 [...]

  3. Abbie says:

    Such a great idea – I wish there was something like that near me!

  4. You're welcome, Bob. K, bike sharing schemes been implemented in Portland, Washington, DC, and the Red Bikes scheme in Madison, WI, to name just a few. Abbie, there are bike sharing schemes in California. I did a quick search and the CalBike Coalition is a great resource.

  5. You're welcome, Bob. K, bike sharing schemes been implemented in Portland, Washington, DC, and the Red Bikes scheme in Madison, WI, to name just a few. Abbie, there are bike sharing schemes in California. I did a quick search and the CalBike Coalition is a great resource.

  6. You're welcome, Bob. K, bike sharing schemes been implemented in Portland, Washington, DC, and the Red Bikes scheme in Madison, WI, to name just a few. Abbie, there are bike sharing schemes in California. I did a quick search and the CalBike Coalition is a great resource.

  7. You're welcome, Bob. K, bike sharing schemes been implemented in Portland, Washington, DC, and the Red Bikes scheme in Madison, WI, to name just a few. Abbie, there are bike sharing schemes in California. I did a quick search and the CalBike Coalition is a great resource.

  8. You're welcome, Bob. K, bike sharing schemes been implemented in Portland, Washington, DC, and the Red Bikes scheme in Madison, WI, to name just a few. Abbie, there are bike sharing schemes in California. I did a quick search and the CalBike Coalition is a great resource.

  9. You're welcome, Bob. K, bike sharing schemes been implemented in Portland, Washington, DC, and the Red Bikes scheme in Madison, WI, to name just a few. Abbie, there are bike sharing schemes in California. I did a quick search and the CalBike Coalition is a great resource.

  10. You're welcome, Bob. K, bike sharing schemes been implemented in Portland, Washington, DC, and the Red Bikes scheme in Madison, WI, to name just a few. Abbie, there are bike sharing schemes in California. I did a quick search and the CalBike Coalition is a great resource.

  11. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by johninboulder: Public Bike Schemes ::: Dublin and Paris Going Strong!: None of us see life as it is, the world as it is. We all see lif http://url4.eu/igW7

  12. Deborah says:

    I'd further research the Paris scheme. I was just talking to a Frenchman who lives in Boulder and he said the vandalism has been very bad. Doesn't mean it would be here, but it would be worth learning more why that happens in some places vs. others.

  13. Deborah, I asked myself exactly the same question. My feeling is that just as communities have unique personalities, community programs should take those personalities into consideration. When Paris's Vélib’ program began, people posted videos of misuse and abuse on YouTube like this one and this one. This destructive behavior in Paris isn't limited to the bike sharing program. Vandalism is rampant all over Paris. So, it's safe to assume that Vélib’ vandalism is an outgrowth of Paris' vandalism in general.

    Community psychology can be very positive. Community gardens promote loving behavior in troubled neighborhoods. One tactic is to make it uncool to cause trouble. Self policing communities can be effective. Wikipedia and Craigslist have moderators and flagging systems to deal with users that act out.

  14. Deborah, I asked myself exactly the same question. My feeling is that just as communities have unique personalities, community programs should take those personalities into consideration. When Paris's Vélib’ program began, people posted videos of misuse and abuse on YouTube like this one and this one. This destructive behavior in Paris isn't limited to the bike sharing program. Vandalism is rampant all over Paris. So, it's safe to assume that Vélib’ vandalism is an outgrowth of Paris' vandalism in general.

    Community psychology can be very positive. Community gardens promote loving behavior in troubled neighborhoods. One tactic is to make it uncool to cause trouble. Self policing communities can be effective. Wikipedia and Craigslist have moderators and flagging systems to deal with users that act out.

  15. Deborah, I asked myself exactly the same question. My feeling is that just as communities have unique personalities, community programs should take those personalities into consideration. When Paris's Vélib’ program began, people posted videos of misuse and abuse on YouTube like this one and this one. This destructive behavior in Paris isn't limited to the bike sharing program. Vandalism is rampant all over Paris. So, it's safe to assume that Vélib’ vandalism is an outgrowth of Paris' vandalism in general.

    Community psychology can be very positive. Community gardens promote loving behavior in troubled neighborhoods. One tactic is to make it uncool to cause trouble. Self policing communities can be effective. Wikipedia and Craigslist have moderators and flagging systems to deal with users that act out.

  16. Deborah, I asked myself exactly the same question. My feeling is that just as communities have unique personalities, community programs should take those personalities into consideration. When Paris's Vélib’ program began, people posted videos of misuse and abuse on YouTube like this one and this one. This destructive behavior in Paris isn't limited to the bike sharing program. Vandalism is rampant all over Paris. So, it's safe to assume that Vélib’ vandalism is an outgrowth of Paris' vandalism in general.

    Community psychology can be very positive. Community gardens promote loving behavior in troubled neighborhoods. One tactic is to make it uncool to cause trouble. Self policing communities can be effective. Wikipedia and Craigslist have moderators and flagging systems to deal with users that act out.

  17. Deborah, I asked myself exactly the same question. My feeling is that just as communities have unique personalities, community programs should take those personalities into consideration. When Paris's Vélib’ program began, people posted videos of misuse and abuse on YouTube like this one and this one. This destructive behavior in Paris isn't limited to the bike sharing program. Vandalism is rampant all over Paris. So, it's safe to assume that Vélib’ vandalism is an outgrowth of Paris' vandalism in general.

    Community psychology can be very positive. Community gardens promote loving behavior in troubled neighborhoods. One tactic is to make it uncool to cause trouble. Self policing communities can be effective. Wikipedia and Craigslist have moderators and flagging systems to deal with users that act out.

  18. Deborah, I asked myself exactly the same question. My feeling is that just as communities have unique personalities, community programs should take those personalities into consideration. When Paris's Vélib’ program began, people posted videos of misuse and abuse on YouTube like this one and this one. This destructive behavior in Paris isn't limited to the bike sharing program. Vandalism is rampant all over Paris. So, it's safe to assume that Vélib’ vandalism is an outgrowth of Paris' vandalism in general.

    Community psychology can be very positive. Community gardens promote loving behavior in troubled neighborhoods. One tactic is to make it uncool to cause trouble. Self policing communities can be effective. Wikipedia and Craigslist have moderators and flagging systems to deal with users that act out.

  19. Deborah, I asked myself exactly the same question. My feeling is that just as communities have unique personalities, community programs should take those personalities into consideration. When Paris's Vélib’ program began, people posted videos of misuse and abuse on YouTube like this one and this one. This destructive behavior in Paris isn't limited to the bike sharing program. Vandalism is rampant all over Paris. So, it's safe to assume that Vélib’ vandalism is an outgrowth of Paris' vandalism in general.

    Community psychology can be very positive. Community gardens promote loving behavior in troubled neighborhoods. One tactic is to make it uncool to cause trouble. Self policing communities can be effective. Wikipedia and Craigslist have moderators and flagging systems to deal with users that act out.

  20. Gerson says:

    um…..according to the NY Times just a few weeks ago….the program in Paris ain't goin all that well:

    "With 80 percent of the initial 20,600 bicycles stolen or damaged, the program’s organizers have had to hire several hundred people just to fix them."

    Anyone know why they each cost US $3500?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/31/world/europe/31

  21. NYTimes: "Correction: November 5, 2009
    An article on Saturday about the Paris public bicycle rental system’s problems with theft and vandalism referred imprecisely to the cost of the specially designed bikes. While each bike costs about $3,500 at current exchange rates when the system’s startup and maintenance expenses are included, the manufacturing cost of each bike is about $1,050."

  22. NYTimes: "Correction: November 5, 2009
    An article on Saturday about the Paris public bicycle rental system’s problems with theft and vandalism referred imprecisely to the cost of the specially designed bikes. While each bike costs about $3,500 at current exchange rates when the system’s startup and maintenance expenses are included, the manufacturing cost of each bike is about $1,050."

  23. NYTimes: "Correction: November 5, 2009
    An article on Saturday about the Paris public bicycle rental system’s problems with theft and vandalism referred imprecisely to the cost of the specially designed bikes. While each bike costs about $3,500 at current exchange rates when the system’s startup and maintenance expenses are included, the manufacturing cost of each bike is about $1,050."

  24. NYTimes: "Correction: November 5, 2009
    An article on Saturday about the Paris public bicycle rental system’s problems with theft and vandalism referred imprecisely to the cost of the specially designed bikes. While each bike costs about $3,500 at current exchange rates when the system’s startup and maintenance expenses are included, the manufacturing cost of each bike is about $1,050."

  25. NYTimes: "Correction: November 5, 2009
    An article on Saturday about the Paris public bicycle rental system’s problems with theft and vandalism referred imprecisely to the cost of the specially designed bikes. While each bike costs about $3,500 at current exchange rates when the system’s startup and maintenance expenses are included, the manufacturing cost of each bike is about $1,050."

  26. Gerson, One of the 170+ comments in the NYTimes article states "Vienna, Austria, had also introduced a similar project ("city bike") a couple of years ago. The initial results were disastrous and in line with what has happened in Paris. Within 24 hours a considerable number of bikes were stolen, destroyed, thrown into the Danube, etc. It's just a reminder that "common decency" is not as common as one might hope. Too many people have absolutely no regard for common goods.

    The situation was significantly improved though by making the bicycles much harder to steal and by requiring renters to register electronically using e.g. a debit or credit card before they could unlock a bike. The service is free for an hour and extremely cheap for additional hours. The main detriment to vandalism was not the introduction of fees, but simply the physical theft deterrents and requiring authentication, i.e. usage is not anonymous anymore.
    Recommended "

  27. Gerson, One of the 170+ comments in the NYTimes article states "Vienna, Austria, had also introduced a similar project ("city bike") a couple of years ago. The initial results were disastrous and in line with what has happened in Paris. Within 24 hours a considerable number of bikes were stolen, destroyed, thrown into the Danube, etc. It's just a reminder that "common decency" is not as common as one might hope. Too many people have absolutely no regard for common goods.

    The situation was significantly improved though by making the bicycles much harder to steal and by requiring renters to register electronically using e.g. a debit or credit card before they could unlock a bike. The service is free for an hour and extremely cheap for additional hours. The main detriment to vandalism was not the introduction of fees, but simply the physical theft deterrents and requiring authentication, i.e. usage is not anonymous anymore.
    Recommended "

  28. Gerson, One of the 170+ comments in the NYTimes article states "Vienna, Austria, had also introduced a similar project ("city bike") a couple of years ago. The initial results were disastrous and in line with what has happened in Paris. Within 24 hours a considerable number of bikes were stolen, destroyed, thrown into the Danube, etc. It's just a reminder that "common decency" is not as common as one might hope. Too many people have absolutely no regard for common goods.

    The situation was significantly improved though by making the bicycles much harder to steal and by requiring renters to register electronically using e.g. a debit or credit card before they could unlock a bike. The service is free for an hour and extremely cheap for additional hours. The main detriment to vandalism was not the introduction of fees, but simply the physical theft deterrents and requiring authentication, i.e. usage is not anonymous anymore.
    Recommended "

  29. Gerson, One of the 170+ comments in the NYTimes article states "Vienna, Austria, had also introduced a similar project ("city bike") a couple of years ago. The initial results were disastrous and in line with what has happened in Paris. Within 24 hours a considerable number of bikes were stolen, destroyed, thrown into the Danube, etc. It's just a reminder that "common decency" is not as common as one might hope. Too many people have absolutely no regard for common goods.

    The situation was significantly improved though by making the bicycles much harder to steal and by requiring renters to register electronically using e.g. a debit or credit card before they could unlock a bike. The service is free for an hour and extremely cheap for additional hours. The main detriment to vandalism was not the introduction of fees, but simply the physical theft deterrents and requiring authentication, i.e. usage is not anonymous anymore.
    Recommended "

  30. My son is very active in the Brooklyn branch of the NYC bike coop. They do everything they can there to get people their own bikes, either by teaching them to fix and tune their old ones, or by selling them recycled bikes at a low cost.

    I'm new to this topic, but why the need to have public bikes when individual bikes with individual responsibility are so economical, with the help of a great supportive volunteer coop/maintenance team? Individual bikes would seem to be a much better alternative to a naive observer like myself.

    My son even attended an nationwide conference of bike coops in Minneapolis. I assume someone in your group is up-to-date on coops, but, if not, I'm sure my son would be happy to comment about it.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

  31. My son is very active in the Brooklyn branch of the NYC bike coop. They do everything they can there to get people their own bikes, either by teaching them to fix and tune their old ones, or by selling them recycled bikes at a low cost.

    I'm new to this topic, but why the need to have public bikes when individual bikes with individual responsibility are so economical, with the help of a great supportive volunteer coop/maintenance team? Individual bikes would seem to be a much better alternative to a naive observer like myself.

    My son even attended an nationwide conference of bike coops in Minneapolis. I assume someone in your group is up-to-date on coops, but, if not, I'm sure my son would be happy to comment about it.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

  32. My son is very active in the Brooklyn branch of the NYC bike coop. They do everything they can there to get people their own bikes, either by teaching them to fix and tune their old ones, or by selling them recycled bikes at a low cost.

    I'm new to this topic, but why the need to have public bikes when individual bikes with individual responsibility are so economical, with the help of a great supportive volunteer coop/maintenance team? Individual bikes would seem to be a much better alternative to a naive observer like myself.

    My son even attended an nationwide conference of bike coops in Minneapolis. I assume someone in your group is up-to-date on coops, but, if not, I'm sure my son would be happy to comment about it.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

  33. My son is very active in the Brooklyn branch of the NYC bike coop. They do everything they can there to get people their own bikes, either by teaching them to fix and tune their old ones, or by selling them recycled bikes at a low cost.

    I'm new to this topic, but why the need to have public bikes when individual bikes with individual responsibility are so economical, with the help of a great supportive volunteer coop/maintenance team? Individual bikes would seem to be a much better alternative to a naive observer like myself.

    My son even attended an nationwide conference of bike coops in Minneapolis. I assume someone in your group is up-to-date on coops, but, if not, I'm sure my son would be happy to comment about it.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

  34. TimesNewRoman, yes accountability seems to help with the "human nature" issue of theft and vandalism. One of the comments in the NYTimes article cited in a previous comment here said "The main detriment to vandalism was not the introduction of fees, but simply the physical theft deterrents and requiring authentication, i.e. usage is not anonymous anymore."

    Bob, I agree that individual bikes are a cheap alternative to the bike sharing scheme. The bike sharing scheme helps people who fit in the category of riders who need temporary possession of bikes. Travelers, commuters, and people who need the use of a bike but just don't want to own one fall into this category. Bike sharing is very convenient for them.

    For example, say you are traveling from Boulder to Portland this weekend. It would be convenient for you to use a bike share system there and use a bike for a day or two. Sure, you could go to craigslist and buy one. But, then, you'd have to store it, get rid of it or take it back to Boulder with you at the end of the weekend. Bike sharing would let you arrive in Portland, grab a bike, ride it for the weekend and then drop it off. All for an average of just a few dollars. No hassle.

    Please ask your son to comment on bike coops! As I mentioned, there's one in Gainesville, FL that is quite active. Its called The Kickstand. At the moment, the kickstand provides low cost parts and service to bike owners. It's run by volunteers. The Kickstand is also providing some homeless people bikes in exchange for volunteer work at the Kickstand. It's going well. Busy.

  35. TimesNewRoman, yes accountability seems to help with the "human nature" issue of theft and vandalism. One of the comments in the NYTimes article cited in a previous comment here said "The main detriment to vandalism was not the introduction of fees, but simply the physical theft deterrents and requiring authentication, i.e. usage is not anonymous anymore."

    Bob, I agree that individual bikes are a cheap alternative to the bike sharing scheme. The bike sharing scheme helps people who fit in the category of riders who need temporary possession of bikes. Travelers, commuters, and people who need the use of a bike but just don't want to own one fall into this category. Bike sharing is very convenient for them.

    For example, say you are traveling from Boulder to Portland this weekend. It would be convenient for you to use a bike share system there and use a bike for a day or two. Sure, you could go to craigslist and buy one. But, then, you'd have to store it, get rid of it or take it back to Boulder with you at the end of the weekend. Bike sharing would let you arrive in Portland, grab a bike, ride it for the weekend and then drop it off. All for an average of just a few dollars. No hassle.

    Please ask your son to comment on bike coops! As I mentioned, there's one in Gainesville, FL that is quite active. Its called The Kickstand. At the moment, the kickstand provides low cost parts and service to bike owners. It's run by volunteers. The Kickstand is also providing some homeless people bikes in exchange for volunteer work at the Kickstand. It's going well. Busy.

  36. TimesNewRoman, yes accountability seems to help with the "human nature" issue of theft and vandalism. One of the comments in the NYTimes article cited in a previous comment here said "The main detriment to vandalism was not the introduction of fees, but simply the physical theft deterrents and requiring authentication, i.e. usage is not anonymous anymore."

    Bob, I agree that individual bikes are a cheap alternative to the bike sharing scheme. The bike sharing scheme helps people who fit in the category of riders who need temporary possession of bikes. Travelers, commuters, and people who need the use of a bike but just don't want to own one fall into this category. Bike sharing is very convenient for them.

    For example, say you are traveling from Boulder to Portland this weekend. It would be convenient for you to use a bike share system there and use a bike for a day or two. Sure, you could go to craigslist and buy one. But, then, you'd have to store it, get rid of it or take it back to Boulder with you at the end of the weekend. Bike sharing would let you arrive in Portland, grab a bike, ride it for the weekend and then drop it off. All for an average of just a few dollars. No hassle.

    Please ask your son to comment on bike coops! As I mentioned, there's one in Gainesville, FL that is quite active. Its called The Kickstand. At the moment, the kickstand provides low cost parts and service to bike owners. It's run by volunteers. The Kickstand is also providing some homeless people bikes in exchange for volunteer work at the Kickstand. It's going well. Busy.

  37. TimesNewRoman, yes accountability seems to help with the "human nature" issue of theft and vandalism. One of the comments in the NYTimes article cited in a previous comment here said "The main detriment to vandalism was not the introduction of fees, but simply the physical theft deterrents and requiring authentication, i.e. usage is not anonymous anymore."

    Bob, I agree that individual bikes are a cheap alternative to the bike sharing scheme. The bike sharing scheme helps people who fit in the category of riders who need temporary possession of bikes. Travelers, commuters, and people who need the use of a bike but just don't want to own one fall into this category. Bike sharing is very convenient for them.

    For example, say you are traveling from Boulder to Portland this weekend. It would be convenient for you to use a bike share system there and use a bike for a day or two. Sure, you could go to craigslist and buy one. But, then, you'd have to store it, get rid of it or take it back to Boulder with you at the end of the weekend. Bike sharing would let you arrive in Portland, grab a bike, ride it for the weekend and then drop it off. All for an average of just a few dollars. No hassle.

    Please ask your son to comment on bike coops! As I mentioned, there's one in Gainesville, FL that is quite active. Its called The Kickstand. At the moment, the kickstand provides low cost parts and service to bike owners. It's run by volunteers. The Kickstand is also providing some homeless people bikes in exchange for volunteer work at the Kickstand. It's going well. Busy.

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