Wednesday, February 28, 2007


With growing concern about carbon emissions, Dublin City Council has come up with a novel idea that involves both cycling and recycling. The council plans to have 500 bicycles located at 25 points around the city for public use 24 hours a day.

For a small charge, still to be determined, people can pick up one of the bikes and use it - but they must leave it back at a drop-off point so that someone else can, if you like, "recycle" it.

The council says each bike will have a mini-computer chip to allow it to be tracked.
That means it's unlikely to suffer the same fate as abandoned shopping trolleys, according to Dublin City Council officials.

The bikes, which will be available to the public in about six months' time, are described as "virtually vandal proof".

They cannot get punctures, they will have no visible cables, but they will have a bell, a front light, two back lights, brakes and integrated gears. The bikes are being introduced by the outdoor advertising company, JC Decaux. In exchange, the company will get planning permission to erect 120 permanent advertising billboards and remove about 1,800 current billboards.

As part of the deal, more than 60% of the new advertising space will be for civic information purposes, telling citizens and tourists what's going on in the Irish capital.

Green councillor, Bronwen Maher, has welcomed the proposal as a good first step in Dublin becoming more like Amsterdam, but she does have reservations about the involvement of an advertising company.

"We have to do something about the chronic traffic problems and congestion in the city centre, but I'm a bit concerned that the council isn't operating the scheme independently and is linking up with an advertiser," she says.

Some councillors have also expressed concerns that the new billboards should not be placed in sensitive, historic sites. But there seems almost unanimous support for the general idea.

As some wits have pointed out, the mock-insult "On yer bike" will take on a whole new meaning in Dublin. "On yer bike - but don't forget to leave it back."

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