Dublin Still Waiting for 'Invisible' Bike Share
The small print: "Enjoy your invisible shite ass bikes" via infomatique @ flickr.
Cities continue lining up to ease transport congestion and get people bike riding via a bike share program: Melbourne is looking to put in 600 bikes by next summer (though helmet laws may discourage riders), and San Francisco is still expecting to get a bike share program this year. But poor Dublin has been waiting awhile for JCDecaux to get its bike share together - nearly three years in the making, the 450-bike program now due in September has taken so long that bemsed Dubliners have put together their own protest stickers.
Photo of Dublin's JCDecaux bike stalls, but no bikes via infomatique @ flickr.
Blue bikes instead of 'taupe'
The Dublin bike share has had a bit of controversy from the very start, as many residents were opposed to giving the French conglomerate control of outdoor advertising boards in the city. Some have even charged that some of the newly-placed advertising boards are poorly positioned and pose a traffic hazard. JCDecaux received a 15-year contract for control of about 100 boards, estimated to be worth about €1 million annually. There are also concerns that Dublin's residents will be even harder on the shared bikes than the Parisians have been on their Vélibs.
Dublin's bike share, though run by JCDecaux, will not have all that much in common with the Parisian Vélib program. It will be quite a bit smaller - 450 bikes and 50 stations compared to Paris' 20,000 bikes; open between 5:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m., while Vélib is a 24/7 service, and costing just €10 for a yearly membership and €.50 per hour after the first free half hour (Vélib costs €29 for a year's membership as well as €1 for the 2nd half-hour, €2 for the 3rd, and €4 for each additional half-hour.)
The Irish and French programs will share something - the signature utility bike, though in Dublin's case the Hungarian-manufacture, French-design bike will be partially painted blue, according to the Irish Times, instead of Vélib's 'taupe' color.
Dublin isn't widely recognized as a cycling city, though Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, a Green party member, has been keen on improving the city's cycling infrastructure and number of people commuting by bike. Dempsey has promised that €5 million will be spent this year on cycling infrastructure improvements, according to the Irish Times.
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