Image by malias
On this past Sunday, Paris opened its massive bicycle sharing program, "Velib'". With 10,000 bicycles and 750 stations, it's even bigger than the famous Copenhagen system, City Bike. The system, similar to that of Lyon, has some interesting features, beyond the fact that the bikes are everywhere you look: The first half hour is free; the bikes have lights, baskets and fenders, key utilitarian components; the bike frames are an open-style for easy mounting; and anyone with a credit card can walk up and pick one up.
While people will continue to want better bicycle infrastructure, this should give a huge boost to the prominence of the bicycle on Paris streets. More cyclists can only help with raising the awareness of motorists and making more people feel comfortable riding their own bikes.
The cost of this system is in the form of advertising. The city of Paris is not paying a thing beyond the granting of ad space.
Would people in Toronto like to see a program like Velib' put in place here? Would you be willing to trade air pollution for 'visual pollution'? Ads-on-bicycles seems like a small price to pay for cleaner air and safer streets. Or would you prefer to see BikeShare resurrected? Could Toronto support both systems? If you have an opinion, share in the comments section.