Schools adopt bicycle programs

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October 24, 2008

1:04 AM

Campuses across the United States have been adopting programs promoting the use of bicycles instead of cars.

“It is all in the interest of reducing our carbon footprint,” University of New England Provost Jacques Carter [said in an interview with] UNE student newspaper the Nor’easter News.

According to the New York Times, UNE and Ripon College in Wisconsin are providing bicycles to freshmen.
“We have a walking campus, a biking campus — students don’t need their cars,” Ripon President David Joyce said in an interview with the student newspaper Ripon College Days. He explained that the idea for this program came from a meeting discussing how to reduce cars on campus.

While Ripon College ultimately decided against instituting a bike-sharing program, Emory University and the University of Buffalo have instituted such programs. Approximately 150 students at the university of Buffalo have signed up for their city-wide biking program, while Emory has partnered with Fuji Bikes and Bicycle South to provide rental bikes.

“We like the idea of bolstering the cycling culture here, and ultimately it supports alternative transportation,” Jamie Smith, who is in charge of Emory’s program, said in an interview with the New York Times.

Bike rental programs do pose problems. Both Juniata College in Pennsylvania and St. Mary’s College in Maryland discontinued their bike rental programs due to theft, vandalism and disrepair of the bikes.

“Ours was one that was totally based on voluntary taking care of the bike, and I guess that was maybe a tad unwise,” St. Mary spokesman Chip Jackson said in an interview with the New York Times. Ripon College chose to give away bikes instead of sharing them party due to the poor state of the bikes.

“Its your bike,” Joyce told the Ripon newspaper. “You can treat it well, or you can treat it poorly.”

The bike-sharing program of St. Xavier University in Chicago uses technology to combat such issues. A student ID is necessary to rent a bike, and the bicycles are tracked by a GPS system.

“You can’t throw it in Lake Michigan,” Paul Matthews, the university’s vice president for Facilities Management said. “We’ll know if you throw it in Lake Michigan.”

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