An Irish VÃ©lib and More Spanish Bicis
Just as fall falls and not a moment too soon, Dubliners finally have their incredibly long-awaited bike sharing program from JCDecaux, mastermind outdoor board company behind Paris' successful Vélib program.
One would excuse the citizens for not getting too excited about the modest program, which has taken three years to get rolling, been delayed at least once, and which bestows millions of Euros of outdoor advertising space on JCDecaux in exchange for a program many times smaller than the Paris plan. However, the smart new Dublinbikes are also a boon to the rain-soaked capital.
Dublinbikes finally debuts
Dublin has a self-proclaimed 'severe traffic congestion' problem, so the 450 bikes and 40 stations are a small but important way to start to get people in the inner city out of their cars and onto the bikes for short inner-city trips. Already, according to Dublin City Council, 1,500 citizens have signed up for membership, which costs just 10 Euros annually.
Speaking for Dublin's mayor, Andrew Montague had this to say at the launch:
"I proposed introducing this scheme to Dublin five years ago and it's very exciting for me to see the bikes finally hit the streets...people will be able to use what is essentially a new public transport system to get around Dublin city. We're aiming to see each bike used about nine times per day - about 4,000 bike journeys. Trips of up to 30 minutes are free and that's how we'd encourage people to use dublinbikes."
According to Dublinbikes, across Ireland use of bicycles to travel to work has decreased, except in Dublin, where it is increasing. Between 2002 and 2006 travel to work by bike has increased by 6% amongst Dubliners. Dublinbikes can't be taken out after 12:30 a.m., however, which may reduce their popularity, as Vélibs are well-used during the wee hours by party-soaked revelers smart enough not to drive a car (we do realize biking and drinking may not be smart, though it seems you'd do less damage to others wielding pounds of steel rather than tons of it.)
Girona gets GirocletaIn another party town much further south, the Barcelona satellite of Girona is getting its very own bike share scheme, the Bike Sharing blog reports. The Girocleta scheme is quite small (160 bikes and 200 parking spaces at 8 stations), and the bikes themselves less fancy-looking than Dublinbikes, but definitely an improvement on Barcelona's bicis, which are very low-riding and heavy. In contrast to the aim of some bike share programs, which facilitate inner city travel, Girocletas is meant to help students who live on the city's outskirts easily travel into the city each day. It also, according to this El Periodico report, attempts to avoid problems that have plagued Barcelona's bici service by making the bikes of local manufacture and the company that runs the service locally operated. Girocleta starts September 25 and membership cost 30 Euros.
Read more about bike sharing at TreeHugger
Cykel: A Plug-in Electric Bike Share Concept
Bike Sharing Goes Global: 5 Programs You Should Know About
Today's the Day! Bixi Bike Sharing Debuts in Montreal