Bike Sharing, C'est Bien en Paris

Jay Walljasper writes that bike-sharing programs are transforming life in European cities from Oslo to Rome, Barcelona to Vienna, and giving visitors a great new way to sightsee.

"In the past year and a half, the City of Lights has become the City of Bikes, with 20,600 public bikes plying the streets as part of the Vélib' (which means, roughly, "free bikes") system that opened in July 2007.

Eric Britton, an American-born transportation consultant living in Paris, has closely studied the system and stresses the Vélib' is not simply another way to bike but a new 21st-century form of transportation offering many of the advantages of both cars and transit. "Think of them as tiny transit vehicles you can pick up where you want, when you want, to go exactly where you want and then leave them there," he says. "They offer the same door-to-door convenience of the car but without all the problems- from parking to traffic jams to pollution to sprawl."

Full Story: Europe on Two Wheels

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