Really depressing article in yesterday’s NYTimes about how Paris’ bike-sharing system, Vélib’, has been met with theft and vandalism, with a whopping 80% of their initial fleet of bikes needing repair or gone missing:
“The symbol of a fixed-up, eco-friendly city has become a new source for criminality,” Le Monde mourned in an editorial over the summer. “The Vélib’ was aimed at civilizing city travel. It has increased incivilities.”
The heavy, sandy-bronze Vélib’ bicycles are seen as an accoutrement of the “bobos,” or “bourgeois-bohèmes,” the trendy urban middle class, and they stir resentment and covetousness. They are often being vandalized in a socially divided Paris by resentful, angry or anarchic youth, the police and sociologists say.
I really hope that the Bixi system in N. America doesn’t meet the same fate.