Biking around campus could be much easier in the future. TruMich — a student organization that supports the development of alternatives to mass transit — is leading a campus-wide petition to implement a bike share program at the University. Many other cities and universities have started programs similar to TruMich and have seen enormous success. The growing petition has 652 signatures as of last night. The University should support this project and fund a bike share program on campus.

The bike share program would include a set of 100 bikes and multiple rental kiosks around campus. Students could check out a bike in one location and check it back in at another. The program would eliminate the need for students to bring their own bikes to campus.

Bike share programs have become popular throughout the United States. In July 2008, Minneapolis created Nice Ride, a non-profit organization that grants access to bikes between April and November for residents of Minneapolis. The program charges only $5 for 24-hour access to bikes and $60 for a one-year subscription. In Michigan, Oakland University and Michigan State University also have bike share programs and have had only a few small problems with the program.

Having bikes readily available would help students who are unable to bring cars, bikes or mopeds from home. Bringing a bike to campus is a hassle and a risk, since there is the danger of damage and theft. It’s extremely difficult for out-of-state students to bring a bike to campus, and therefore, their only other option is to buy a new bike when they arrive on campus. The implementation of a bike share program would decrease the risks and challenges for students wishing to ride one around campus.

Putting a bike share program into action at the University would be relatively inexpensive and cost effective. A similar program at Xavier University in Ohio spent $250,000 for 65 bikes and keycards to rent the bikes. The University already provides keycards to students, in the form of MCards, and the cost of just purchasing bikes would be minimal compared to other expenses.

The University prides itself on being environmentally friendly and sustainable. By making bike travel easy and inexpensive for students, staff and faculty, car and bus travel would likely decrease, and even just taking one bus off the road would help reduce the University’s carbon footprint. The University should be doing everything possible to be environmentally friendly, and the bike share program is another way to have a positive impact on the environment.

A bike share program would highlight the University’s environmentally conscious image, while simultaneously making life easier for students. The petition is a great way for students to voice their support for the program. The University should respond to students’ wishes and implement a bike share program on campus.

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