Bikes Portland, Oregon, has long been lauded as one of the nation's friendliest cities to bikers. Miles and miles of bike lanes, dedicated bicycle stations, even required changes in automobile traffice flow at certain times of the day.

Now, the Rose City is stepping it up another notch:

Following the lead of European cities such as Paris, city Commissioner Sam Adams wants to establish a rental fleet of 500 bikes as the first phase of a bike-rental plan for Portland.

It's on track to being to first project of its scale in the United States. Portland's hoping to support the new program by selling advertising in public spaces, but officials aren't ruling out the possibility of public subsidies.

Of course programs like this have been around in European cities for a while. Copenhagen has had a bike-sharing program for years, and Paris launched a major bike-rental initiative this summer, which eventually will include over 20,000 bikes.

Other U.S. cities are just beginning to inch in this direction. Washington, DC, and San Francisco are launching pilot programs. I wrote about other cities' efforts to be more bike friendly in a Governing story last year.