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Swedish City Rents Bikes for Free to Make You Leave the Car Behind


City-bikes-537x430If you liked the news about Madrid offering electric bikes for rent to make people leave the car at home, wait until you read this. The Swedish city of Gothenburg is not wasting time with persuading people to pay for cycling. Instead, they are simply giving the bikes for free for a period of six months, hoping that this will make people use the two-wheelers at least three times a week.

Air pollution from diesel vehicles is something that has to be reduced immediately in all major urban cities around the world. The programs that city officials are implementing these days are highly innovative and creative, from air-purifying poetry and billboardsdiscount parking for EVs, all the way to urban rooftops farms. But how many of them would really work and motivate people to do the good thing, still remains to be seen.

An example from Sweden, however, seems to be topping up all of the above. The governmental officials of the city of Gothenburg are not really the ones to play trial and test, making people invest extra in order to reduce their carbon footprint. No, they simply cut to the chase and give the green-two-wheeler for free to students, commuters, parents and children. If they want to do good to the environment and include some exercising in between, then they get a free brand new fancy bike for a period of six months. Rickard Waern, a project manager for the Energy Agency of West Sweden and one of the key persons behind the idea, thinks that the period is sufficient enough to give a lasting impact and to break the old habits.

If they manage to fall in love with the idea of biking to work or to town, without worrying about parking and traffic jams, then after the six months are over, you can purchase your ride at a discount price.

My guess is, the program will be implemented in spring so people can ride away and get hooked before the harsh winter season has begun. But hey, this is brilliant. If my home town does this, I would happily accept the offer, and I doubt I would be the only one.

Image (c) Flicker

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  1. Well it’s free for ever, not just 6 months, in a few countries and cities like France’s Angers, Anglet, Bayonne, Bordeaux, Bourges, etc. Even in Switzerland with Genève and Neuchâtel. So they don’t offer the bikes for sale since there is no trial period. But yeah, any such initiative is welcome. Biking is great even here in the U.S. where the city recently cut several important bus lanes for lack of budget, but there is still no farmers market anywhere nearby.


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