Up to 1,000 Vélib' bikes are stolen or vandalised every week in Paris

The Local France
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Up to 1,000 Vélib' bikes are stolen or vandalised every week in Paris
Vélib' bikes in Paris. Photo: AFP

The operators of cycle share scheme Vélib' have spoken out about the rash of vandalism that has been affecting their bikes in Paris.


The shared-use bikes, with their grey and green livery, have become a common site around Paris, but the company behind them says it is struggling to deal with the level of repairs needed.

Managers from Smovengo, the company behind the scheme, say they lose 600 to 1,000 bikes a week, and repair 300 damaged bicycles a day - of which it is estimated that around 60 percent have been vandalised.


"This phenomenon of vandalism has taken us a little by surprise," admits Pierre Heyraud of Smovengo.

"In the other cities where we have bicycles, in Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier, Helsinki, Moscow, they can't believe it. Nowhere else has so much vandalism.

"We have the impression that the big game in Paris is to break the tail lights of the Vélib."

To try and address the problem Smovengo has recruited a specialist bike repair team, who work permanently in a depot in Villeneuve-La-Garenne on the outskirts of Paris.

It comes as Smovengo is trying to increase the number of bikes available in the French capital and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is attempting to improve cycling rates in the city.

She recently told French newspaper La Journal du Dimanche that she wanted to make Paris a "world capital of cycling".

Both she and her deputy Christophe Najdovski have spoken of an "insufficient" number of Vélib' bikes in the city and asked the company to address availability of bikes in an attempt to get more Parisians out of their cars and on to a bike.


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