Automated bike hire planned for Denver

Solar-powered stations to detect damage

An automated bike-hire system is to be implemented in Denver, Colorado, mayor John Hickenlooper announced on Thursday.

The scheme will begin this summer, with 500 bikes available at between 30 and 50 stations throughout the city.

The bikes will be tracked via GPS and the solar-powered parking stations will be under constant CCTV surveillance.

The stations will also be equipped with micro-sensors that can detect faults on a bike when it’s returned and call a mechanic if necessary.

An earlier bike-sharing scheme in the city ended when many of the bicycles were stolen or damaged.

"I don't believe any free bike-sharing program that's based solely on the honour system has ever worked in the United States," said Tim Blumenthal, executive director of bike advocacy group Bikes Belong. "Bikes quickly move from being out and available to being in people's garages."

The Denver scheme is expected to double in size next year, with over 1,000 bikes available.

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