Salty Dog Cycling

a healthy lust for cycling…

Paris Shared Bike Program is Symbol of Social Unrest

with one comment

velib bike paris france

New York Times article highlighting the difficulties of running a public program that depends on the good behavior of users.  Sad to know they are facing such challenges based on the troubled youth of greater France.  But, maybe it’s an important reminder of the greater social unrest in the country.  Either way, it’s an key program to study and improve upon.

“The symbol of a fixed-up, eco-friendly city has become a new source for criminality,” Le Monde mourned in an editorial over the summer. “The Vélib’ was aimed at civilizing city travel. It has increased incivilities.”

The heavy, sandy-bronze Vélib’ bicycles are seen as an accoutrement of the “bobos,” or “bourgeois-bohèmes,” the trendy urban middle class, and they stir resentment and covetousness. They are often being vandalized in a socially divided Paris by resentful, angry or anarchic youth, the police and sociologists say.

Bruno Marzloff, a sociologist who specializes in transportation, said, “One must relate this to other incivilities, and especially the burning of cars,” referring to gangs of immigrant youths burning cars during riots in the suburbs in 2005.

He said he believed there was social revolt behind Vélib’ vandalism, especially for suburban residents, many of them poor immigrants who feel excluded from the glamorous side of Paris.

What did that bike ever do to you?

– Salty Dog

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Written by yellow fork

November 2, 2009 at 11:46 pm

One Response

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  1. Sad but true, there is a lot to be done in the city of Paris to solve the social differences and also to open better oportunities for the youth instead of gangs or acts of vandalism.

    This program really is a way of social evaluation.

    thelocalguide

    November 3, 2009 at 2:19 am


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