My thoughts are no...but I thought it might be interesting to discuss.
"THE City of Sydney is considering a bicycle hire scheme, but only if it wins an exemption from compulsory helmet laws."
From the linked article at crikey.com.au there was a comment quoting Harry Barber of BNV "As the bicycle ecosystem develops <snip> So we think it is very early to make this investment." I really do not understand the position of BNV. They were instrumental in making the fines for Victorian cyclists the highest in the country. And this indicates that they think that we are starting in a position where cycling is rare and has to become more common before investing in bike share schemes makes sense. My feeling is that cycling was common and has become less common due to the actions of groups like BNV who have an agenda to increase rules and regulations and fines for simply riding a bicycle.
We already have free bike loans through BikeSA and ACC and it seems to be working quite well, the only real issue is (as I Understand) that you have to return the bike to the starting point. Perhaps if a deposit system of $10 were introduced then the bike could be left at any of the distribution points and the deposit would compensate pickups and delivery of bikes back to the starting point at the end of the day. Naturally the $10 would be reimbursed to anybody that took the bike to their start point, it might even be feasible to pay somebody $10 if they picked up a bike from the non original starting point and left it at the start point.
So the Paris system cost $7000 per bike.
Having read the article I still don't really know what the details of the system are or how it works.
could it be self funding?
if it can't could money be better spent some other way?
to answer this question you would need the objectives of the system to be well defined.
what is the best way to encourage cycling I don't know but considering bike fit and maintenance issues bike share would have to be set up carefully for it to work well.
The Paris system (and many similiar systems) are paid for by advertising companies. Not sure of the details right now, but there you go.
A bike share scheme would be fantastic if it was set up properly. Especially considering how spread out we are.
Good bike share setups really compliment public transport, you can catch a bus from the adelaide hills or elizabeth etc to the the cbd and surrounds and get onto a bike share bike without the headaches of having to wait for another train or bus.
Those free hire bikes are great, but they aren't really setup for getting around and taking care of daily business. Ok for a few hours of leisure but not for transport.
Above is a video of the london bike share scheme in action. Its the only form of public transport that doesn't run on a timetable. The most effective form of above ground public transport in London (i'd argue its more efficient than the trains). and they've increased the amount of bike share bikes/stations since the video was made.
The Adelaide bikes are used by many tourists. Easier for them to access c.f. Brisbane system, where must book at least 7 days in advance, and only by credit / debit card, and last I knew no helmet supplied. When the Adelaide fleet is increased to include cargo, child trailer and adult trike for disabled, expect more locals will use. I have been on organised ride along the Linear Park where the starting point was a node so that novices could get a hire / loan bike. I considered using the system when my bike was in for major maintenance at a CBD LBS, but in the end walked.
If reluctant bus service introduced bike racks, then less need for locals to hire bikes, but use their favourite steed.
Heather are you sure about the advance booking ? It doesn't look that way from the online info:
In Aug-2011 found info that needed your own credit card and process at least 7 days before visiting. The web pages appear to have been updated but here:
If you are a casual subscriber, the charge is automatically debited from your credit or debit card at the end of the subscription period.
There is a similar system to Adelaide set up in Robe.
While for tourists I can see getting around by bike has potential for a pleasant cheap day.
For the locals does owning and so being responsible for the bike seems just as good.
there are stories that a lot of bikes that are bought travel less than 100Km per year so getting the existing bikes out of sheds and people using them has great potential.
Checkout the Brisbane bike hire system. There are bike stations literally everywhere throughout the city, and think there are thousands of bikes. You need to get a card, but can then use them whenever you like, and simply drop off at another station. Seems to work well because the stations are everywhere you need them to be. Also the first 1/2 hour is free, so you can set up a fun checkpoint race...
The only issue was helmets, and not sure what they've done about that.
Looks like not only did Brisbane pick the same bikes as a lot of European cities they also cloned the web site, see http://www.en.veloh.lu :-) It's a pity they didn't also use the same rates. In Luxembourg the first 1/2 hour is free, additional hours are an additional euro to a maximum of 5 euros a day (AUD6.20). That would get you 90 minutes in Brisbane.
As a contrast the city bike I hired in Brugge was 8 euros for the day (AUD10).
I wonder if tourists suffer from sticker shock? :-)