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Urban Consumers on Two Wheels

Metropolitan Bike-sharing Schemes and Outdoor Advertising in Paris, Montreal, New York, and San Juan

Tomás López-Pumarejo

Large-scale public bicycle rental programs represent the latest grand venture for outdoor advertising corporations. By supporting these programs, advertisers gain unfettered access to street furniture and municipal billboard space and thus acquire the power to transform the city dwellers' experience of the urban landscape both visually and kinetically. These public-private bike rental programs have mushroomed around the world due in part to the impact of Paris' Vélib, which is the world's largest. This paper discusses the role of outdoor advertising in this trend, and focuses on two existing and two projected public bicycle programs. The existing programs are Vélib and Montreal's Bixi; and the projected ones are slated for New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico.1