I’ve had varying views on these ride-sharing Bikes and Scooters over the years, and perhaps in part that was due to seeing them from the very early stages of these start up businesses, and also seeing their unrestricted use in cities including in Sydney and Melbourne.

However, this week in Paris I’ve been convinced of the purpose for them, and at the same time convinced that with the right planning, bikes can be a great part of a busy and high profile city – but I don’t think it can work in Sydney.

Firstly, on that last part, Parisians on the road are accepting of bikes in a way that is unfathomable in Australia. Drivers of cars and vans and trucks look before turning at intersections, in Australia the cyclists are taking every intersection into their own hands and must be on the highest alert. That’s simply a fact of life as we’ve not grown up with these dual purpose roads, cars and bikes living together.

Speaking of which, while we have some basic bike paths on some particular roads, in Paris its every road, bike lines and lanes designated or constructed. Again, likely too big of a change for us to make.

Heck, there’s even a tunnel along the river in Paris that clearly was built for cars, but is now just for bikes and pedestrians – and while traffic “up top” was crazy, that tunnel was a breeze – I know Tunnels in Paris have a sordid history, but this was very cool.

Onto the bikes, and while I did get one with a Flat tyre, the 5-6 I rented for my rides were great. The process of collecting one is fantastic, they appear on a map, you can reserve one while you walk there to stop someone else getting it (I had this happen today, saw a guy trying to scan the QR code of “my bike” and he got rejected, looking flustered he walked away).

Walk up, scan the QR code, verify your payment and the bike unlocks and you’re off.

Each has a strange rubbery phone mount on the handle bars, I remember this London earlier in the year, even though it looks flimsy, it fits any phone, wraps around the corners and holds it tight even on the worst cobblestone streets.

This means you can use your smartphone maps to navigate, and Cycling directions are fantastic on Google and Apple Maps now so easy to use.

My AirBNB was a 30 minute bike ride from the Eiffel Tower, a ride that would cost 40 Euros there and back in an Uber, but cost me a quarter of that on the Lime Bike. But it’s not about the cost, it’s about the experience.

There are deals and passes and ways to basically have an all you can ride weekend, but for me, it was about having the freedom to look at a map and go yeah, I’d like to go there.

What was most impressive from a City planning and cleanliness perspective was how the maps are so deeply integrated with rules.

You can’t just park your bike anywhere, but there are thousands of easy places to do so.

Yellow areas on the map indicate slow zones where the bike automatically slows – in busy areas mainly with shared pedestrian and bike access

And finally, no go zones. The beautiful parks and major tourist areas are blocked off and you can’t move the bike in there, it’s wheels are locked up.

Honestly, very cool, Especially in a place where bikes are a shared part of the mobility on the roads, and I’ve not seen anywhere as good as Paris for that so far.

So before you travel, download LIME and be all ready and signed in with a payment card applied, so you can just scan and go on your next trip.