Edmonton

Edmonton thieves pedalling away with shared bikes

A bicycle sharing group in Edmonton is gearing up for another season, but has to contend with thieves.

A bicycle sharing group in Edmonton is gearing up for another season, but has to contend with thieves.

Members of The People's Pedalcan access bikes in different areas of the city, use them, and then drop them off at the same or another location. The cost of joining isa $25 fee or four hoursvolunteer time.

But the group, whose members are putting the bells and whistles on a new fleet of red bikes,hopes to prevent the theftproblem that plagued the program last year.

Thieves pedalled off with nearly 30 bikes last summer, despitemembers needing a code to access the locked bikes.

President Scott McAnsh said hewas heartbroken by the number of bikes that were ripped off and suspects the pass code was leaked.

"It was really hard, especially as a volunteer-run organization, to cope with those levels of loss."

This season the group is trying to improve security, but at the end of the day the success of the program comes down to trust, he said.

"Even as it stands now with the changes, there is still a lot of trust built into the system and it can be abused."

A similar program in Paris requires users to swipe their credit card or leave a depositwhen they pick up a bike. If it isn't returned, a charge for the bike goes onto their card.

"We had a lot of heart-wrenching talks about what kinds of things we could do and we're still in discussions about getting a more secure way of getting access to the bikes. But these things cost money and so we are in the process of applying for grants," he said.

Alex Hindle, one of the 80 people who joined the People's Pedal last year, says some people in Edmonton don't seem to get theconcept.

"People here, perhaps they see them and they're not entirely sure.They don'tmaybeunderstand that it's about sharing. It's not about your bike. It's about the people's bikes."

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