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Vélo'v: bicycle P2P

There's an article at Wired about a new short-term bicycle rental system in France. I found it timely because a group from Duluth recently visited St. Paul and asked the Minnesota Bicycle-Pedestrian Alliance for assistance with a similar (but lower-tech and smaller scale) bike sharing project.

As the Wired article notes, these free lending systems must rely on the basic goodness of the human race in order to succeed, which is why they almost invariably fail. Nonprofits run out of money. Bicycles are stolen or intentionally destroyed.

The program in Lyon, a "P2P network for bikes," aims to circumvent these issues by means of credit card deposits, alarms, and microchips. Many people are curious to see whether they will succeed. The network analogy is an interesting one, because it brings to mind a fundamental axiom of computing: no matter how secure you try to make the system, someone will find a way to hack it.

Categories: bicycles

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