Wet VÃ©lib photo via Out of Shot @ flickr. The sensational reports of vandalism and loss of bikes by the wildly successful Parisian bike share program VÃ©lib were seen by some as an effort by sponsor JCDecaux to get more money from the city's municipal administration. And it appears they have. The advertising company refused to respond to this TreeHugger's specific questions about what JCDecaux was doing to stem the losses, but now Bike Europe reveals that VÃ©lib will expand and soon come out with an anti-vandalism version of the sleek and iconic VÃ©lib bike.VÃ©lib's project manager Mathieu Fierling told Bike Europe that despite the vandalism problems a new and more vandalism-proof VÃ©lib bike is being developed while the scheme is expanded with another 300 hire stations and 3,300 bikes.
VÃ©lib also unfortunately is now responsible for one cyclist death, occurring in March when a 50-year-old man on his VÃ©lib was reportedly hit by a truck making a right-hand turn. According to The Connexion, eight motorcyclists, three pedestrians, one motorist and one cyclist have died in Paris since the start of the year in traffic-related fatalities. VÃ©lib racked up 24 million trips - 130,000 people riding a day - to the year ended June 2008.
VÃ©lib goes to the 'burbs
Recently Boulogne-Billancourt, the first of an expected 29 different Parisian suburbs, got 21 docking stations and bikes. Before the end of the year the cycle hire scheme is to be extended to the other suburbs surrounding the French capital. The expansion of the network will cost the city â‚¬ 8 million Euros. JC Decaux, the advertising group that covers the cost of Velib in exchange for lucrative public advertising space, generally picks up the bill for labor while local authorities pay for infrastructure. The city will also pay for the VÃ©lib stations and bikes in the suburbs as part of a new deal called "Avenant no. 1" that was negotiated with JCDecaux, according to Velo Mondial. According to VÃ©lib's project manager Mathieu Fierling, Paris city agreed to pay more for damaged bikes. Via: Bike Europe
Read more on VÃ©lib at TreeHugger
Massive Theft, Vandalism Plaguing Parisian Bike Sharing Program
Short Film on VÃ©lib, World's Biggest Bike Sharing Program in Paris
Parisians Love Their VÃ©los