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Mass community bicycles

Free bicycles for anyone to use
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

The government finances the building of millions of bicycles which are deposited in public areas all over the country. People can take a bicycle from anywhere, to anywhere.

Advantages: 1. Encourages fitness. 2. Damn useful around town centres. 3. No need to worry about having your bicycle stolen, they'll be everywhere. 4. They won't cost you anything (directly). 5. Environmentally friendly transport (but see below).

Disadvantages: 1. Lots more accidents through bad riding, fights over bicycles at peak periods. 2. Environmental consequences of having millions of knackered bicycles.

danbrusca, Jun 10 2001

Google search "public bicycles copenhagen" http://www.google.c...%2B%22copenhagen%22
[StarChaser, Jun 10 2001]

(??) And failed. http://dailynews.ne...0106081032000255339
"Some were taken permanently and repainted, while the police impounded others on the basis that ownerless bikes were street rubbish." [StarChaser, Jun 10 2001]

One size fits all scooter http://video.google...423&q=slida+scooter
This could work as human powered free public transport concept [Pellepeloton, Oct 15 2006]


       Baked. Works some places, failed some others.
StarChaser, Jun 10 2001

       They tried this in England somewhere as well - Oxford or somewhere I think - *all* the bikes were promptly stoles and re-sold somewhere else i the country. Even a national scheame would end up with all the bikes getting shipped abroad.
CasaLoco, Jun 10 2001

       Santa Cruz, CA. Portland, OR.   

       They are sometimes painted very obvious colors to make it more difficult to sell them elsewhere.
egnor, Jun 11 2001

       I beleive this has proved reasonably successful in either Oxford or Cambridge where old fashioned bikes are hired out to students etc. However one scheme in London, I think, was piloted where automated racks dispersed around town allowed you to hire a bike for a couple of pounds as long as you took them back to one of these racks. The obvious happened; thieves came along and thought, Hey! A bike for 2 quid. Thanks.
Ivy, Jun 11 2001

       I don't know for sure, but I think a similar concept is baked in Phoenix, AZ. But not with bikes. Here's my story. I swear it is all true:   

       I went to Phoenix for a conference once. It was hot. Boy, was it ever hot. But, of course, it was a dry heat. My last day there began as the others had all proceeded: hot, dry. Everyone was wearing shorts and T-shirts. After baking profusely all day, I was shocked to suddenly find myself absolutely drenched. I looked up – it had started raining. Just like that. Now, here’s the weird part of the story. I was walking down a downtown street when this happened. It was pointless for me to try not to get wet. Now, remember that I said everyone was wearing shorts and T-shirts. But, I looked around at everyone else (Phoenix natives, of course – there are no tourists there) and I was shocked to see that everyone – I mean _everyone_ was carrying an umbrella! Still wearing shorts and T-shirts! Then, as suddenly as I had become drenched, I was dry. I looked up – the rain had stopped. And like I was walking through a dryer I was dry in seconds. The kicker – I looked around again, and no one was carrying an umbrella. I decided that moment that there was some sort of free umbrella program for native Phoenicians that I was unaware of – they must have all ducked into the nearest bar, shop, kiosk, what-have-you, grabbed a free umbrella, and when the rain stopped three minutes and eighteen seconds later, they dropped them off wherever they were. To this day I have been unable to verify the existance of such a program – they keep it very secret so the seven tourists they get every year don’t take advantage of the program and re-paint and re-sell the things.
globaltourniquet, Jun 12 2001

       Too bad you had to go and spill the beans, GT. I expect you're prepared to face the consequences...
snarfyguy, Jun 12 2001

       Here in Palmerston North, New Zealand, we have public "green bikes" that anyone can take. Unfortunately as this is a university town most of them end up in the long grass out the back of student flats.   

       I'm not sure if it has any effect on the rate of theft of privately owned bikes that happen to be painted green.
zero5, Aug 05 2001

       In addition, there's a basic assumption here that all destinations are equally favoured. You'd need to employ people to take bicycles back to where they were needed, in the same manner that supermarkets employ people to go around and bring the shopping trolleys back.
AllenGrace, Aug 06 2001

       Yup, here in Cambridge a few years ago, loads of free green bikes were placed around the city and disappeared on the first night. They were repainted and sold elsewhere. Probably at Oxford ;-)
Furry, Aug 13 2001

       Will mass community shoes help people walk more ? Bikes are personal things, they must fit the rider, and be maintained. They are also cheap. No one has ever claimed they were too poor to ride a bike. Bikes belonging to no-one are neglected and trashed in canals and waste ground. University towns often have a large population of old bikes, which are sold on from one generation of students to the next. This is a much more effective method.
MichaelW, Feb 04 2002

       Of course it is. And of course there's a tradeoff between effectiveness and egalitarian ideals. Some of us might want to explore the other end of the frontier, or even the middle.
LoriZ, Feb 05 2002

       Gee. This has been baked 40 years ago in Amsterdam - The Netherlands. Unfortunately it failed. In later years these plans were re-launched... and failed again. Such plans were called "white bicylce plans".   

       Today we have reverted to the very succesful "black bicycle plan": If you go to Amsterdam today you will see many bicycles handpainted (pretty sloppy). These bikes have all been stolen and resold (by junkies). Once you buy a stolen bike, you repaint it quickly so that the former owner will not recognize it. To summarise the "black bicycle plan"consists of the motto: if you need a bike, steel it or buy it from a junkie!   

       BTW: I do not approve of this black plan. I bought mine in a shop. I purposely bought an old dented bike and a huge lock (more expensive than the bike).
spekkie, Feb 05 2002

       Not bicycles but scooters with 4 wheels. Two footplates, two handlebars, 4 wheels and one rider. These kick scooters exist but the concept of using them with free urban transport is new. This type of scooter would also carry shopping in a basket or a box for shopping. They would be fitted with parking brake and do not need a stand as with 4 wheels they would not fall over. They would stack inside each other like a shopping trolley. As they are safer and bit slower than bicycles, helmets are not needed and can be ridden on the footpath. As there is no seat, one size would fit all riders from 10 to 100 years. Maintenance would be minimal as there is no chain, gears or seat. Just need to have enough air on tyres to keep the wheels rolling smoothly.
Pellepeloton, Sep 23 2006


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