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Minneapolis Ready to Launch Bike-Stealing Program


Minneapolis is ten days from launch its bike-sharing program, now branded Nice Ride. I called this to your attention about a year ago, noting that Paris was having some problems pedaling its way to utopia:

As it approaches its second anniversary, the Paris Vélib' bicycle-sharing program is proving as popular with thieves and vandals as it is with commuters.

Since the program started in July, 2007, 8,000 of the bicycles have been stolen, and nearly 1,400 people were arrested for Vélib' theft just last year.

Police have retrieved about 100 of the purloined bicycles from the depths of Paris canals and the Seine River. Some have been spotted on balconies. There have been reports that a few turned up, mysteriously, on the streets of other European cities. But the fate of most of the missing bicycles is unknown.

At the same time, 16,000 bicycles have been vandalized.

Maybe the lack of gratitude for convenient bike access is a symptom of flawed French character. Heaven knows we love to pick on the Frenchies.

But that doesn’t work this time. Even a small town in Flyover, U.S.A. (actually, Hutchinson, KS) is having a problem with its bike-sharing program:

Five brightly colored bikes set aside for community use in downtown Hutchinson are missing.

The Hutchinson News reported that organizers of the Public Bike Project expected that some of the bikes might be stolen. But when all of them disappeared last week, that came as a surprise.

Yeah, a surprise to those completely ignorant of human history, economic theory, or current events.

But the Hutchinson bike nuts aren’t total patsies:

The group plans to replace the bikes. But members plan to stop at 20.

No word on any limit to the silliness here in Minneapolis. We’re already down almost two million bucks…bike sharing is an idea too good to fail!