Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cities of Bicycles

JC Decaux's Bicycle Rentals in Lyon, France (photo courtesy of CBF)
JC Decaux's bicycle rental system in Lyon, France courtesy of Chicagoland Bicycle Federation

Imagine, you pop out of a café, work or an 'L' station, swipe a card at an electronic kiosk and pedal off with a rental bike. The City of Chicago was looking for proposals in March for such a setup (PDF showing a "Request for Proposal (RFP) for Self Service Bicycle Rental Program"). JC Decaux, which brought us our bus shelters, runs Lyon, France's 117-station rental network, called Vélo'v, of more than 2000 bikes serving an average of 10,000 rentals per day with 60,000 members. JCDecaux is set to bring 20,600 bikes across 1,450 stations to Paris after prevailing in a challenge by Clear Channel. Similar programs exist in London, Brussels, Copenhagen, and Helsinki.

Of course, Denmark and the Netherlands are experts on using the bicycle to get around town - with rather ingeniously practial designs that are starting to pop up in the US.

CDOT's Bike Program page can get you pedaling around Chicago today, perhaps to avoid CTA's construction and slow zones (PDF).

To see what the future may hold, check out the City of Chicago's Bike 2015 Plan, "to make bicycling an integral part of daily life in Chicago."


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