Scaled-down bicycles get kids involved with eco-friendly initiatives early.
Bike sharing is an initiative that’s proven popular around the world, which is why France has decided to extend that interest to the next generation. The P’tit Vélib program, an extension of the city’s successful Vélib cycle hire network, made 300 bikes available to children as young as two on Wednesday. Located at five different green areas around the city, the scaled-down bikes not only make it easier for families to spend time together, but also instil eco-friendly habits that will last a lifetime.
Manufactured by JCDecaux, the bikes come in four different sizes, which includes a pedal-less balance bike for children aged two to four, a bike with stabilisers for ages three to five, and two larger models for children who can already ride and want a bit more independence. To make sure kids didn’t feel like they were being given a dumbed-down offering, the bike design is free from garish colors and other “childish” patterns.
The scheme has targeted popular cycling spots around the city, such as Ourcq canal in the north-east of Paris, and the vast Bois de Boulogne park in the 16th arrondissement. Prices vary, but one of the bikes costs between €4-6 for every hour, with a maximum cap of €12 per day.
In a written introduction to the scheme, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said:
P’tit Vélib takes another step in opening up our city to all the children who live there or visit it. Introducing the smallest children to this most ecologically friendly and convivial mode of transportation will help make the Paris of the future more open to clean, shared and low-carbon transport.
In the past, many families would travel outside the city so their kids could learn to ride a bicycle, but the new bike sharing scheme for kids might be enough to keep people within the city limits. Based on the success of the program so far, the city already has plans to launch another two locations before the end of the summer.