Hot on the heels (or should that be, ‘wheels’) of the news that bicycle use is on the rise in Tel Aviv, the municipality in Israel’s second city has just announced that it is launching a ‘pay and ride’ bike rental system.Last week, Green Prophet reported that bike use in the city shot up by 300 per cent in the last decade, which is now set to climb even further with the scheme which aims to provide 1,500 to 2,000 eco-friendly two-wheelers at 100 different stations in the future.So both Tel Avivian commuters and visitors alike will be able to cruise the 74 kilometers of bike baths in the city (the municipality is paving another 26 kilometers to make it 100 in time for Tel Aviv’s centenary in 2009). In many ways, Israel is still lagging behind Western countries in terms of environmental awareness, but plans like this are signs that the Government and citizens are pedalling in the right direction.”The intention is to imitate similar successful systems currently operating, mainly in western Europe,” reported Ha’aretz. “In Paris, for instance, 20,000 bicycles are offered for rent, after more than 150,000 residents subscribed to the service in the first four months of its operation. The system in Barcelona, Spain reportedly has more than 60,000 subscribers.”In November, just before Green Prophet came to life, the Ministry of the Environment in Jerusalem let me into a secret that they are planning a similar scheme in the capital to get tourists, both foreign and native, to see the city without looking through the greasy window of a bus or taxi.
Photo: Michael Green, Kibbutz Ein Hamifratz.