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The Transformative Potential of Bike Sharing

Can a bike-sharing program transform a city? To mark the second anniversary of the Vélib system in Paris, Streetsblog Network member World Streets has a post arguing that it can, if it's done on a sufficient scale:

velib_station2.jpgOne of the complaints currently being voiced in the UK pressaboutthe new public bike start-up in the city of Bristol is that it is toosmall, insufficiently visible and generally hard to get at -- and thatit thus fails to achieve the level of massive use that is necessary ifwhat you want is a city transformation project. Is that what your public bicycle project is supposed to do? Transform your city?Itcan, you know. Not all by itself, of course. But if you put it togetherwith a carefully thought-out integrated package of new mobilitymeasures, you can create a powerful component of the transformationalprocess.

The World Streets post includes several links to videos about Vélib, including one from the PBS e2 series on transport that aired last fall (and one from Streetfilms). Good food for thought as New York and other cities in the US and around the world study and implement their own programs.

Another post that caught our eye on the network this morning was Copenhagenize's proposal for a "Driving Kills" PSA campaign. It wouldn't just focus on the toll of crashes, either:

driving_kills_audi_emissions.pngIn Denmark, 4000 people die every year because of the health hazards related to cars-- and that's ten times greater than the number of people actuallykilled in car accidents. Respiratory illnesses, heart disease,stress-related illnesses caused by noise pollution, etc.

Very few people are aware that the levels of dangerous microparticles from exhaust are actually higher INSIDE the car than if you're cycling next to it. So let's focus on this fact and hopefully encourage motorists to think twice about their actions.

Shouldn'twe have rules dictating that all advertisments for automobiles musthave clearly visible warning labels? There are a variety of smokingtexts that can be applied to the car health warnings.

Also, Biker Chicks of West Chester has a rant about the way bike shops treat older women -- don't they want more people on bikes? And WashCycle challenges men to help fight the harassment women sometimes face when they go out for a ride.

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