What’s up with those Europeans and their bikes?

In recent years, European bike-sharing programs have been all the rage (in Europe). The largest of these programs has been in Paris, which only started in July. In this program, as in most others, the costs of the bikes is offset by revenues from outdoor advertising, on the bike posts and shelters.

Now there’s some momentum stateside for these environmentally friendly initiatives. The first city looks to be Washington DC, in a deal sponsored by the advertising firm Clear Channel. There’ll be some sort of membership program along with a per-usage fee. 120 bikes will be the starter pool.

Chicago and San Francisco are also planning their own programs. In many cases, the Europeans seem one ahead of Americans on green initiatives, and I think this is another perfect example. Bikes have been a godsend to China, for instance. Think how much worse Beijing would be if there were 10 times more cars–that’s what we would be facing if everyone there didn’t already ride bikes around.