High-Tech Bicycle Rental System a Hit in France

The city of Lyon, France has been offering bicycles for travel within the city limits for several months, and the program has proved enormously successful. Residents can access the bicycles at one of almost 200 stations throughout the city, and the bicycles are released by the swipe of a bank card. The bikes are free for the first half hour and less than one euro after that. Since most cyclists leave their bikes in a station at their destination and then re-swipe for the return trip, the service is in effect free for about 90 percent of the Lyonnais.

A similar bike system in Vienna, Austria inspired outdoor advertising company JC Decaux and the Lyon government to team up to provide the bikes. The bikes themselves "intelligently" self-check their brakes, tire pressure, and other functions after every ride. Problems are reported to a central location. Several other French cities have expressed an interest in launching similar programs. To access the program’s website, click here. A warning: it’s in French!

Source: News from France, a publication of the Embassy of France in the United States.