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Free Bikes In Paris

Over 20,000 bicycles are on their way to Paris as part of the mayor’s plan to make the residents of the city less-dependent on cars. (Many citizens of the city are absolutely irate about the new bike lanes.) The bikes will be free to use and can be picked up at one of 1451 stations, then dropped off at any one of them as well.

The system is set to be in place early this summer, just in time for tourist season.

Pack a helmet!

Partial Smoking Ban Begins Today

Today marks the beginning of the ban on smoking in public places in France. It’s believed that 12 million people smoke in France, and nearly 66,000 smokers die each year due to smoking-related illnesses. 25-30% of all adults smoke in France (which is below the European average), and half of all young adults under 35 light up too.

(Tip: If you’re smoke-sensitive, don’t sit next to a table of teenage girls. Trust me.)

The air in 42% of all places that allowed smoking was considered “dangerous”. Smoking is now prohibited in public buildings like hospitals, stores, offices, and schools, and there are stiff fines for smokers (68€) and business owners. The total ban on smoking in bars, caf&eagrave;s, and restaurants, will begin in 11 months, starting January 1, 2008, and the EU Health Commissioner has proposed a total ban in all 27 EU countries.

Currently it’s illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving, considered a public danger. But curiously, smoking indoors has been tolerated and vigorously defended. Today I expect to see a lot of people grousing in the street (les râleurs).

And speaking of ‘as seen on the streets of Paris’…

C’est très Parisien?

I’m heading out for a walk…it’s gonna be fun out there today!


    • Piperita

    Très Parisien indeed!!! LOL!!!

    • David

    This one is my other favorite Le Parisien.

    (…and this one too!)

    • Steve

    Yegods–I foresee irate smokers running down cyclists in bicycle lanes. Is it optimistic to think that the fear of mere fines will goad Parisians into sharing the road or not lighting up wherever they feel like it? On the other hand, if ‘half of all young adults’ smoke (and I’d say it’s at least that), but only ’25-30% of adults’ do, then it seems that they wise up as they age.

    • Alisa

    thanks, that was good!

    • McAuliflower

    Hmmm a smoked desserts themed SHF would have been funny.

    Smoked caramels- yum!

    A ban in France has almost made hell freeze over. When I see Japan go smoke free- then I will know the end is near ;)

    • Stephanie

    Funny, my town (Portland, Oregon), which is a major alternative commute-type place, has had the free bike program for a decade or so . . . to no avail. We’ve tried everything, painting the bikes a hideous bright yellow, using bikes that appear to have no retail value and aren’t in fantastic shape, but no, no, no, as soon as the bikes are out on the street they just disappear, never to be seen again. So much for our good citizenry.

    Can’t wait to see a picture of you on a bike!

    • Jeremy

    I ride a bike in NY, and with an ipod on! Figure on all the Parisiens riding and smoking at the same time! Dave great video!

    • the pauper

    as to what stephanie mentioned… that was the first thing that came to my mind. i live in new york, and if they had a free bike program, all the bikes would be gone so fast…

    what they need to do is have RFID implemented in a government id. so you swipe your id when you check it out, and it’s on record that you have a bike. then when the bike is not returned, you get a reminder, and after a certain number of days, they should come and arrest you for larceny.

    of course people wouldn’t like that because god forbid our information be on a computer chip.

    anyway, i’m sure lots of people are happily riding their free Portland sponsored bikes.

    • mrbunsrocks

    Given that my past impressions and memories of France include countless youth flagrantly disregarding the plethora of non-smoking signs peppered throughout the campus….good freaking luck on this ban.

    Though if it works, let me know. I can’t say how much I would LOVE to enjoy a luscious meal of French food without having to inhale air so thick it’s blue.

    • abm

    The free bikes will require a credit card to check out, and are free for the first half hour, then around 1euro per hour after that.

    • johanna

    they have similar bike schemes in all major austrian cities and they work quite well (you now have to register and pay to use them, though, as so many bikes went missing in the first trials). but in paris??? it’s dangerous enough to drive or cross the street without full body armour, let alone ride a bike…


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