Dockless bikes have taken off in France

50 000 station-based shared bikes in 33 French cities

The dawn of bikesharing goes back to counterculture movements of the 1960s with experiments such as Amsterdam’s White Bikes (Witte Fietsenplan) or La Rochelle’s “vélos jaunes”. Though bikesharing growth had been slow the next 30 years, the improvement of technology (smart lock, tracking devices) revives the concept and had led to a rapid expansion of these programs In France since 2000’s.

In 1998, “Vélo à la carte” program launched in Rennes and appeared as major milestone for the developmnt of bikesharing system. “Vélo à la carte” was the first modern dock-locked bikeshare programs, followed a few years later by Lyon’s Vélo’V, in 2005.

From that date, the number of bikesharing programs in France has substantially increased. Thus, in twenty years, upward thirty cities – 33 cities currently – have launched a station- based bikesharing system in France which represents almost 50 000 shared bikes spread over the whole territory. This number has boomed between 2007 and 2010: while there were only two programs before 2007 (Rennes and Lyon), they have increased up to 32 at the end of 2010. Since then, the offer has remained stable.


15 000 free-floating shared bikes in 8 French cities


Since 2017, the field changes dramatically with the advent of dockless bikesharing systems to the French market. Compared to traditional systems built on docking stations, dockless bikes are free-floating, allowing users to rent and leave them directly at their destination without the need to find an empty dock.

Dockless bikesharing programs are currently available in eight French cities. Six major providers operate them. Four of them, including Ofo and Mobike, are located in Paris and they have ramped up their operations, expanding fleets within the capital. Within a year of existence, about 15 000 dockless bikes are floating on France’s streets. Today, dockless bikes represent 20 % of all shared bikes in France.



15 000 long-term rental bikes in 25 French cities


As an alternative, some French cities also offer long-term bike rental services (from a month to one year), sometimes combined with station-based bikesharing systems. Long-term bike rental services are currently available in 14 French cities accounting for more than 20 000 bikes.




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