Thanks Richard ...
Yes agreed ... so in the context of Velib and other public bike systems,
as distinct from private owned and personally used bikes, it may also
help to start from defining what public transport is ie using a logic
similar to Richard's below.
That is, rather than trying to define various forms of human or motor
powered modes or vehicles, try thinking of public v private modes ....
such that it is not so much about ownership, rather it is about the way
the vehicle or mode is used and able to be used and by whom ... ie
about common or inclusive right to use, or accessibility to use ie
availability to use ... and under what conditions ... hence the personal
private use only bike or boat is not public, but the same vehicle could
be public if made available for others to "freely" use ... with
or without conditions ... indeed it would seem possible the same vehicle
could be both but at different times.
Bicycles, and most other modes then fit ... eg private planes, boats,
bikes, buses, trains and cars ... but public planes, boats, bikes, buses,
trains, and cars etc ...?
So is it as the subject line implies a "Legal redefinition of
bicycles as public transport?" or is it a "Legal redefinition
of public transport to include bicycles and other new ways of providing
public transport?" ??
Or is it the operating and/or management "system" that manages
and/or places conditions on use ie eg that creates the difference between
a typical bike hire and Velib ... and creates some debate as to whether
one is private transport and the other public transport?
The "New Mobility" brand may help ... if only to help expose
what may be symptoms of old assumptions, narrow descriptions and/or
preferential prejudices distorting the way "new" modes of
transport are perceived.
Another problem is the age old definition of what is or is not a bicycle
... faced by those in the sport of racing cycling ... which suggests to
me that is definitely NOT the way to go ... as the cycling racing sport
definition excludes all sorts of HPVs ...!
And to expand that view, I can imagine a system similar to Velib that
provides a range of vehicles for people with mobility disabilities ...!
In fact Velib etc as a concept is (simply?) an advanced form of vehicle
hire with wide spread closely spaced hire facilities to give high levels
of user convenience .... and therefore is NOT necessarily limited to
bicycles that conform with the cycling racing sport definition and not
necessarily only to HPVs either ... imagine for example Velib vehicles
with solar recharged, electric assist?
At 09:25 PM 17/07/2008, Richard Allsop wrote:
It may help this discussion to
distinguish between two dichotomies that are sometimes confounded, namely
public vs private and individual vs
In public transport the travellers use a vehicle or system that is
available equally, or at least similarly, to all or some defined
subpopulation of citizens. In private transport the traveller or a
mutually agreed group of travellers uses a vehicle which they provide or
hire for their exclusive use.
In individual transport, a traveller or a typically small mutually agreed
group of travellers have a vehicle to themselves for as nearly as
practicable exactly the journey they wish. In collective
transport, travellers or groups of travellers share a vehicle without
prior arrangement or control of who else will be using the vehicle with
them, typically for a useful part, but not necessarily the whole of their
Bicycles or similar provide individual transport. My own bike
provides me with private transport, but a Velib bike in Paris is a form
of public transport. A cycle rickshaw, for example in Dresden
or Oxford is individual public transport like a taxi is in those two
cities. Shared taxis are collective public
Readers of this message will need no more examples - and of course may
find cases where the above definitions are harder to apply or break down
But if we want to strengthen the legal position of the users of bicycles
and similar, we need terminology that stands up to hard logical tests,
and to call my own bike public transport doesn't!
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