Paris Cycles Meet the BBC’s Forces of Negativity

Paris Cycles Freely with Loaded Questions and Answers

In Buddhism, there’s a concept called the forces of negativity which is inherent to the whole universe – but especially when applied to living sentient beings like ourselves.

VelibThese negative forces are extremely apparent when the Velib Cycle Scheme in Paris is considered.  We have:

  • The initial doubts about cycling in general
  • Doubts about the success of the scheme
  • Doubts about the cost
  • Negative reporting about the current state of the scheme  – Thefts puncture Paris bike scheme

It’s this last one, the BBC report that I’ll examine.

These are the bald statistics gloomily reported in the BBC article:

PARIS CYCLE SCHEME IN NUMBERS
20,000 bicycles
1,250 stations
Cost 400 euros each to replace
7,800 “disappeared”
11,600 vandalised
1,500 daily repairs
Staff recover 20 abandoned bikes a day
Each bike travels 10,000 km a year
42 million users since launch
Source: Velib

The point is that we now have a climate of gloom where all reporters are seemingly in competition to see who can make the worst-sounding news!

We see it in the herd behaviour of stock marketteers and the current financial and industrial crisis.

The whole tenor of the article is that:

  • the scheme is crap,
  • Parisians aren’t to be trusted (because other cities like Lyons have similar schemes or are going to, like London),
  • and the whole thing is a waste of money.

My take on it is:

Let’s look at the benefits!

  • I see 8k bikes lost which have done 15k km since inception and cost 400 Euros (3.2m Euros, which in the current banking props is less than peanuts)
  • This is a distance cost of 37.5km per Euro – which compares favourably with an average car’s fuel consumption!
  • But no fuel is used!!!
  • In fact, this cost is about the same as the annual cost for a set of tyres for a 4×4 (I only compared fuel costs above, not total running costs)
  • I see a cost of 2100 journeys per bike – many of which would have been otherwise done in cars, taxis etc.
  • In fact I see huge savings in CO2 emissions all round, and that, in reality, is the prime thing anyone can do to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and possibly slow the exponential growth in the temperature of our world.

Other Info:

For a positive view of the Velib scheme from someone who’s actually used it, see The Impending Failure of San Francisco’s Pilot Bike Share Program.  Matthew Roth however, seems disenchanted with the prospects for a similar scheme in San Francisco.  Like I said, it’s the reporting that’s gloomy and suspect.  Read the BBC article and see how positive a slant is given to the impending San Francisco scheme, negative to the Parisian scheme, and compare to Matthew’s on-the-spot take….

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