When in Rome, Share Bikes
The competition is heating up between Eurpoean cities seeking to build the best bicycling infrastructure. As we noted this morning, Amsterdam is mimicking Copenhagen's "green wave" for cyclists. And now Rome is bringing a Paris-style bike sharing project to the Italian capital by 2008.
Modeled after the Parisian Vélib program, users will ride free for the first half hour with costs increasing every half hour after that. The system will be maintained at no cost to the city by Cemusa, the same company that has New York City's street furniture contract. Rome's plan is to have 20,000 bikes in place by the end of 2008 with the first 250 test bikes installed by January.
Meanwhile, here in New York City Mayor Bloomberg seems to feel that bike-sharing won't work because we don't have a safe enough streets for large-scale cycling and he doesn't know how you'd deal with the fact that "we have bicycle laws where people have to wear helmets." This, of course, is completely incorrect. New York City law does not require adult, non-commercial cyclists to wear helmets.