Shared bikes, vandalism, and public space in Bern

Bern has seen an explosion in the number of cyclists on its streets in recent years – an increase actively encouraged by city authorities, but not by everyone. Bernese commuters, who according to one recent estimate are forced to endure the world’s lowest average daily travel time (21 minutes), woke this June to find another form of transport conjured for their disposal. Almost overnight, 70 PubliBike stations had sprung up like metal bushes throughout the city’s neighbourhoods; at each one, a dozen or so chic-looking, matte-black, compact-framed bikes – about half of them electric, the other half normal, i.e. human-powered. And this is only the beginning. The plan, says Michael Liebi of the city’s transport department, is to expand the network towards a peak of 2,400 bikes in 2020, at which point Switzerland’s fifth-largest city – where public transport on average never leaves you more than 300 metres from the next stop – will boast the country’s biggest bike-sharing system.

 
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