Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bicycle Thief !!

It is sad to see the article in NY Times on October 30th, "French Ideal of Bicycle-Sharing Meets Reality", quoting that 80 percent of the original batch of Velib's are either stolen or vandalized.

"Daily use averages 50,000 to 150,000 trips, depending on the season, and the bicycles have proved to be a hit with tourists, who help power the economy." Even for a conservative estimate, if the average trip length is 5km, that's ~250,000 to ~750,000 vehicle kms off the road, what ever the mix of the vehicles may be and the resultant benefits in air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

While the city is strengthening the cycles and promoting public awareness via ad campaign's, may be they could add numbers to and show what these benefits mean in terms of public health. On one side, it is easy to the environment will be green with more Non-motorized transport in the city, and on the other, if the story is told from health perspective, saying this emissions mean 10 premature deaths (or something along those), what will be the public reaction?

At the end, it is the Parisian's who suffer not the tourists !!

See AQI in Paris (click image). A very neat concept of using balloons for public awareness on daily air quality, for which transport sector is a key source of pollutants.

We were traveling Lyon in March and were very impressed by the cycle service. We did try to rent one, but failed because our credit card did not have a chip on it. Sadly, we walked and took the bus. Something for the tourists please :-)

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