Paris Gears Up For Pedal Power
City hopes shared bikes will make a dent in ze car traffic
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2007 5:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Paris began offering free bikes at stations throughout the city yesterday in a new initiative to ease car traffic. Cyclists can use any of  20,000 heavy-duty bikes parked at 750 locations around the capital by swiping a transportation card that costs $1.36 for the day and up tp $40 for an annual pass.

Bikers are charged a modest fee after the first free half hour and can return the bikes at any stand. Paris officials hope the program, known as Velib—a combination of the French words for bike and free—will have 20,000 regular users by the end of the year.