You’ve heard of car sharing… how about bike sharing?

Car sharing has become standard equipment in many cities, but what about those of us who want something even quicker, less expensive, more convenient and healthier? Well then, there’s Cyclocity.

First of all, the caveat is that you have to live in Lyon (France’s third-largest city) or Paris (coming this summer), but this is just a sign of things to come. Perhaps it’s easiest to compare how it is, and isn’t similar to car sharing:

How it’s like car sharing:
– There are permanent parking spaces throughout the city.
– You pay based on the time used, tracked by satellite.
– You pay a membership fee ($7/year in Lyon, $38/year in Paris)

How it’s not like car sharing:
– You can park it at any designated parking station, unlike car sharing where the car must be returned to the original parking space.
– The first half hour is free, then $1.30 for the next 30 minutes, $2.60 the next, and $5.20 every half-hour thereafter, encouraging more frequent usage.
– Customers buy a prepaid card or use a credit card at a bike station kiosk.

95% of the 20,000 daily bike rentals (that’s not a typo) in Lyon are free based on this pricing structure. The impact is even more surprising: Vehicle traffic dropped 4% and overall bicycle use tripled. “It has completely transformed the landscape of Lyon – everywhere you see people on the bikes,” said the city’s deputy mayor. Paris expects 250,000 trips a day, or 91 million trips a year.

The biggest complaint? Not enough parking. Some things never change. For more on this story and financials, check out the Washington Post article, Paris Embraces Plan to Become City of Bikes.

Image source: PeterForret

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