U of M student bike-share program now in high gear
With parking at a premium as it is at the beginning of most semesters, University
of Memphis students might want to turn to pedal power to find an easier avenue to
class this fall. The new Tiger Bike ride share program is allowing U of M students
to have easy and cheap access to bikes.
The program has introduced a fleet of 50 bikes for shared student use. Besides the
obvious — more exercise and convenience for students — other benefits could prove
large in the future.
"It will help improve our parking problem, which is always a major concern," says
Amelia Mayahi, U of M sustainability coordinator. "There are so many obvious benefits
for people who live within two miles of campus to ride a bike rather than drive a
car to campus. It cuts down on fuel, provides an easier parking option and is healthy."
Mayahi said the program so far this fall has been extremely successful.
“This is how I envisioned it. There is already a waiting list,” she said.
Participants are required to pay a $35 fee each semester and take part in a bike safety
program that includes instruction in "rules of the road" prior to checking out a bike
for the first time. Once enrolled in the program, students have access to the bicycles
on a first-come, first-served basis and will be able to keep the bikes for 14 days.
In order to avoid a small number of students repeatedly renting the same bicycles,
a 24-hour window between checkouts is required. Users are provided a lock and a helmet
and are responsible for general maintenance and returning the bikes in good condition.
The University has created a bike repair shop with the entire program being housed
in the old Printing Services building on Southern Avenue. Bikes come in three sizes.
As the program grows, plans call for additional bikes to be added.
With bike lanes popping up in Memphis and with the city being named as the 2012 most
improved city for cyclists by Bicycling magazine, Mayahi said she believes that will add to the interest. More than 35 miles
of new bike lanes were built in Memphis recently, including several on nearby exterior
regions of campus. There are about 108 miles of cycling routes in the city, including
the 6.5-mile-long Shelby Farms Greenline.
For information on the bike program, call the Tiger Bike Shop at 678-4201.