Rome Travel Guide

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Bike Sharing: Rome

What's to Share?  Piazza del Biscione, near Campo de' Fiori

Near empty bike-sharing lot, near Largo di Torre Argentina

Bike-sharing programs work well in cities like Seattle and Portland, Oregon, where residents are convinced that sharing bikes is the solution to global warming, energy dependence and diabetes, and where the locals are so law abiding that crossing against the light or at mid-block is considered about as bold and life-threatening as parachute jumping.

This doesn't describe Rome, a city where living within the law means not driving your motorscooter on the sidewalk more than once a day, and where the life expectancy of a bicyclist is about 10 minutes. 

In Rome, bike-sharing means sharing space with scooters.
Piazza dell' Óratorio, just south of Galleria Sciarra
So it's no surprise to us that the city's bike-sharing program, inaugurated about two years ago, and now administered by ATAC (in charge of all aspects of transport in the city), doesn't appear to be thriving.  The stations have been handsomely outfitted, but there are no bikes--or only a few.  We would guess, in a city whose most famous film may be the neo-realist classic The Bicycle Thief  [English title] (in which even the hero tries to steal a bike) that many have been stolen.  The good news is that adaptable Romans have found the empty bike racks an ideal place to park their scooters. 



Unknown said...

I know, it's terrible! In fact the city bike sharing doesn't exist anymore, the city is no longer funding it.
The only small organization in the city that is getting started to provide an alternative is City on Bike who is currently collecting funding to get more bike points together (right now they just have 2: 1 in the ghetto and the other in Trullo).

As a cyclist who does not own anything motorized (impossible you say!) riding a bike around town is dangerous for sure, but sometimes discouraging for the lack of other bicycles on the road.

Thanks for bringing awareness to the topic- hope to see you out on the roads or at the next critical mass perhaps?

Unknown said...

I hope that it is working better in NY!! Maybe we need a Mayor to take some responsibility for the things that happen in this city.
Thank you Dianne and Bill for your always prescious posts.

Shara Wasserman