Thursday, November 15, 2007

Vélibers in the Paris transportation strike

France is in the second day of its transportation strike. There's plenty of news coverage (Washington Post, BBC). As predicted, Paris' Vélib bicycle system has been popular. Although the system started big and has been growing, it was overtaxed by new users on day one.

MetroFrance uploaded this video showing the Vélib experience some Parisians new to the system. It's from the DailyMotion web site. The descriptive tag says "Parisians are discovering Vélib on day one of the big transportation strike."

The BBC gives a personal narrative (from which comes the photo at top) which says: "French drivers are sometimes not the most polite of people but there was a certain sense of solidarity on the Parisian roads this morning. Angry horns gave way to politeness as cars edged into reverse to let pedestrians and cyclists cut across the jams. Everyone understood this was not a normal day. 'No worries', smiled the cyclist whose rear tyre I shunted accidentally in trying to squeeze my own bike through the narrow gap between the van and the pavement. It soon became clear the best way to make progress was to filter down the middle lane and be swept along with the motorbikes and rollerblades."

Photo caption: "A man using a Velib bicycle on the Champs Elysees in Paris (14 November 2007)"

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