Tuesday 10 February 2009

Liberated Vélibs

‘Vélib' - a cross between "velo" (bike) and "liberté" (freedom) - has transformed travel in the French capital since it was launched in July 2007. Its sturdy grey bikes have been used 42 million times since then.

But success has come at a high price: some 7,800 of the original 15,000 bikes (20,000 in summer) have "disappeared" – presumed stolen – and 11,600 have been vandalised. It is not uncommon to find them hanging from trees in Paris, while several were spotted in Romania last year.