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Actually, _vandal_ is of Germanic origin, through Latin. According to my Webster's, Vandals were "an East Germanic tribe that ravaged Gaul, Spain, and northern Africa and sacked Rome" in the 5th C. AD. (A Vandal is not to be confused with a Hooligan,"name of an Irish family in Southwark, London.")

Right. Vandal is German, but calling the act of destruction "Valdalism" is French. It was a derogatory reference to the Vandals.

I cannot understand why these bikes are $3500.

What is so special about their design or manufacture? Even if "specially designed" I would assume you could get a discount on an order of the 20,000 apparently in use. Why not just buy a regular hybrid bike, and retrofit whatever smart tags are needed to ensure that they work within the system.

I ask this because it would be sad if a possibly good idea like bike sharing goes down because of reasons entirely separate from the basic concept.

In the article they mention that the bicycles are made sturdier and heavier. And I know they like to use unique sizes of things so that people can't, for example, steel a wheel and put it on their bike. It won't fit. But I'm not sure if that is the full answer.

I think the problem may very well be that their ubiquity may make them to appear of less value. I think as the programs age in North America, we may see this problem ourselves.

Heavier bicycles are more expensive? I'm rich!

Sturdier and heavier? This sounds crazy.

I found Schwinn hybrids online at Walmart for $199. I doubt that the Velibs are 17.5x more sturdy. At $199, you could replace them every 6mo and turn a handy profit over the Velib.

Perhaps the Velibs are built by French artisans in Burgundy, or a special order of monks. "Brother Matthew, hand me that cantilver brake"

it's the euro to dollar conversion. These cost 14.28 euros each.

DC doesn't have this problem because SmartBikes are ugly as sin! Pretty smart deterrent, if you ask me.

They're word was "solid", not heavy. "the extra-solid construction and electronic docks mean the bikes, made in Hungary, are expensive".

Comparing bike sharing in Paris to bike sharing in Montreal and DC is apples and oranges. Paris is a bigger city (by population), with a much more ambitious program. Imagine 20,000 bikes shared bikes on Manhattan. That's what they're dealing with.

Montreal's program is pretty ambitious, given the size of the city. When I visited it seemed there were stations every few blocks in the downtown and Plateau.

Montreal is a MUCH more egalitarian city than Paris. There aren't the big, sprawling underprivileged suburbs, and the quaint, expensive core. Historic Montreal is actually a pretty affordable place to live (as nice North American cities go). So there's no impulse to vandalize the bikes to vent anger/class resentment.

guez, as I've said to so many women over the years, I really don't see how size matters. Are you hypothesizing that the rate of vandalism goes up as a system gets larger? How does size explain an 80% theft/damage rate in Paris and a 2% theft/damage rate in DC? [I guess as size goes up, one can make a living stealing the bikes. In DC you'd run out of opportunities pretty quickly]

Good call on the inflated price of the bikes.

THey are nice bikes -- much much better than the ones in Lyon, Barcelona and DC. But not $3500.....

I understand the bike sharing scheme in Rome is more worried about the Visigoths.

Everyone is ready for the Visigoths, but the Ostrogoths...they have the element of surprise on their side.

As systems grow larger they inevitably go into 'worse' neighborhoods. A majority of vandalism/theft in DC has occurred at the Shaw & Rhode Island Ave stations from what I've heard, but the other 8 stations are in nicer neighborhoods or business districts. All of the DC stations are in the Northwest quadrant, and my guess is if they were to be distributed citywide we would see theft and vandalism rates similar to Paris.

yeah, DC and Montreal don't have a problem with mass car-burnings either. On the other hand we do have a much higher murder rate....

Paris has a very high unemployment rate disproportionately shared by poor minorities who live on the outside of the city - this has made mobility a major issue of protest for the poor. Paris also has a culture of protests that involves property destruction.

In North America it's usually the other way around - with the poor living in the more urban areas, so it's a different dynamic.


Sorry, you're right. Never mind. "It's just the French" is a much better answer.

Paul DeMaio agrees, though ontarioroader makes a compelling argument.

Correction to the original article:

The bikes only cost $1000 each - the $3500 includes the start-up costs, ie digging up the roads, the docking stations etc

Looking forward to our scheme in London next year

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