Public Bicycles refers to a growing movement that is occurring around the world to set up networks of bicycle checkout stations that loan out community bicycles- sometimes free, sometimes for deposit, and sometimes based on membership. Someday public bicycles may be as common as public libraries (the concept of borrowing and returning being very similar).
MIST traveled to Copenhagen to collect data on their public bicycle system- there were over 1,000 bicycles and 120 checkout stations as of the year 2000. As seen here, we surveyed riders about their experiences.
The 1998 version of the Sandnes, Norway checkout bike. A nice feature is the small front rack for carrying gear.
A row of yellow checkout bikes at the University of Montana. The bikes can be checked out for 2 days for 'free' (part of a student $4 fee per semester for transport solutions), and the bikes come with a lock and light.