Students who are members of the Student Recreation Facility will now have the opportunity to rent bikes on campus, with the announcement of SRF’s new “Cycle Share Bikes” program.
For the cost of $20, students, and other community members who may have membership to SRF, can rent a bike for the remainder of the spring semester, according to the program’s website. In addition to the bicycles themselves, rental packages include a helmet and bike lock for safety. Renters face a $10 per day late fee and are responsible to pay for any damage incurred to the equipment or necessary replacement items. The program initially includes 15 bike packages, but is open to expansion depending on increased demand and feedback after launching.
UConn’s Cycle Share Bikes follows suit of similar bike rental programs introduced on college campuses nationwide, as well as cities, that have been very successful. Bike rentals provide an affordable, alternate mode of transportation for students around campus, and can be especially useful for those who may live on the edges of campus, such as in Mansfield or Charter Oak Apartments.
In addition to enhancing the ease and convenience of transportation for individual students, an increase in the number of students using bikes, as facilitated by Cycle Share, can have benefits for the entire UConn community. This includes reducing on-campus traffic from cars and relieving already scarce on campus parking, along with positive impacts on the environment and encouraging healthier, move active student lifestyles.
Seeing such successes, just last week, Princeton University expanded its initial pilot rental program from 10 bicycles to 60. Kim Jackson, director of university transportation and parking services there, reflected, “We see this as building an overall bike culture... When people have options like this, it makes it easier to leave a car at home, which reduces congestion, pollution and emissions on and around campus and helps us meet the university’s and community’s sustainability goals.”
UConn students seem to be similarly receptive to the program. In an interview with Emma Krueger of the Daily Campus, Samuel Sweitzer, fourth-semester accounting major, said, “It (Cycle Share) is cool because students who don’t normally have access to bikes can use them to explore campus and the surrounding areas in a whole new way.”
Over the summer, SRF should look to collect feedback and evaluate the spring pilot period of this program in anticipation of expansion in the fall. SRF should also strategize how to attract students of all backgrounds to the program.