Vision Coun. Raymond Louie is peddling — or pedalling — a public bike-sharing program for the City of Vancouver.

Members of the program would be able to borrow bicycles from kiosks throughout the downtown core and the more densely populated northside of the city, north of 16th Avenue and east to Commercial Drive.

Short trips would be free, while trips longer than a half hour would likely carry a charge, Louie said.

“If people get out of work and decide they want to go to the mall or down to the park, they can hop on a bike and get from point A to point B without getting into their vehicles,” Louie said.

Ideally, Louie added, a bike-sharing program could be implemented with little cost to the city through sponsorships, advertising or a combination of both.

Louie’s motion, which goes before council Tuesday, directs staff to explore a large-scale bike sharing demonstration project by February 2010.

“We’re hoping to jumpstart (bike ridership) considerably as a result of this public bike-share system,” Louie said. “We’re going to have potentially 3,000 bicycles introduced to our city.”

Former NPA Coun. Peter Ladner had advocated for a regional public bike-sharing program tied in to TransLink.

Around the world

• Bike-sharing programs are in place in a number of cities around the world, including Paris and Montreal.