David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: The Central Activities District of Melbourne has an established bike borrowing outfit allowing people to borrow bikes for short periods to get around the city.

TARGET DATE: December 2004. PROGRESS: Some.

DESCRIPTION: This is an idea based on the very successful bicycle borrowing scheme in Copenhagen, Denmark and a program running in Zug, Switzerland. The idea is similar to that operating for shopping trolleys at shopping centres. People can come to the city, put a coin into a slot at one of the many bike bays around the city in order to unlock and bike and helmet, use the bike within the city boundaries for an unlimited time, and when they return the bike to any bike bay, they will receive a coin back. The bikes that are borrowed would most likely be heavy duty, durable bikes which are a good form of inner city transport, but less of a target for theft than more expensive bikes may be. Distinctive colouring and advertising could be used to identify the bikes and to contribute to the running costs of the scheme.

The bikes could be fitted with carrying bags that would allow people to do their shopping in and around the city. They could then take another form of transport to wherever they wish to go out of the city.

The bike borrowing scheme could also operate in some areas where the bikes are borrowed from a person who maintains the bikes. This would allow higher quality bikes to provided for those who wish to use them. In Switzerland, this approach is used and is based in an old converted bus, where people are asked to leave an ID win order to secure the return of the more expensive bicycles. Maintenance of the bikes in Switzerland is done by homeless and underprivileged people, which provides a variety of benefits to themselves and the scheme. Locks may also be provided with the more expensive bikes, which would be returned with the bikes.

A bike borrowing scheme in the City would be a great way to increase mobility around the city without increasing congestion.

FURTHER INFORMATION: This idea was generated by Peter Campbell and sent in by e-mail on 2 January 2003.

2003: With the Council's approval, I am hoping to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark as a side trip to a major local government meeting in France in May 2004, as a way of documenting and promoting the idea in the City of Melbourne. I have already met with and discussed the idea with the Copenhagen Executive Mayor and Environment Mayor, who were very encouraging about the success of bike borrowing in their City, and the potential to bring it to Melbourne.

2004: I did visit Copenhagen and stayed for a few days with the person who helped to introduce free bikes into Copenhagen. I also spoke with J. C. Decaux in Paris about bringing a free bike scheme to Melbourne and following that approach, J. C. Decal put a proposal to the City of Melbourne for consideration. The Copenhagen scheme is being offered to the City of Melbourne free fo charge by having advertising placed on the bicycles, while the J. C. Decaux approach is for more expensive bikes that are released from lockable racks by the use of an issued credit card.

4 May 2009: The Victorian State Government has just announced a $5 million bike scheme for the Central Activities District, which appears to be the final actioning of the idea I put forward more than five years ago while a Councillor at the City of Melbourne.


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

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