As Green Consciousness continues erupting in this country politicians have failed to realize that bicycles are the new cars, in the sense that they can offer a similar jolt to national and local economies in the 21st century that car manufacturing did in the 20th century. Thinking creatively about making states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada that are renowned for their moderate climes, but which are unnecessarily congested with cars, can potentially revitalize not only certain segments of this nation's manufacturing sectors, but also an urban planning movement that has become mired in obstinate highways and luxury high rise building projects. Those leery that auto lobbyists will reject any such measures should consider the fact that transportation and spending are as much about habit as they are need. People will not stop buying cars, or buy them at any less of a rate than we are currently purchasing them, we will simply buy them for different reasons.
Anybody that is a "bicycle enthusiast" will at least give it a go, but you would expect that of them. It is the much larger body of people out there that don't ride bicycles that is important here. To see any significant change in gas prices downward or to see any kind of a boost for the cycling industry, it is these non-cycling people that will have to come in and make a difference.
My gut feeling is that it won't happen. Not even with $4.00 per gallon gas or higher.
Portland, OR isn't first. Neither is Washington, DC. Tulsa, Oklahoma has been running a successful Velib-style bike share program for almost a year now. See Tulsa Townies, which has credit card activated electronic kiosks with pink singlespeed rental bikes.