Free Bikes Vetoed, D’oh!

Penn State will sadly not be receiving free bikes for use next year. University Park Undergraduate Association President Ragland has opted to veto the Bike Share legislation. In a press release, it was stated that

[President Ragland] was concerned with the lack of time left in the semester to fully support the initiative. He would like to see comparative research be performed, in order for the best possible decision to be made. This includes looking at other companies who facilitate bike share programs, seeing how similar programs operate at other colleges and universities, and gauging how students would feel about the initiative and researching the best locations for the bike retrieval hub stations. He was hesitant to see this legislation move forward, feeling as though there were many unanswered questions regarding safety and liability, insurance, as well as approval from the University, Police, and OPP.

President Ragland did reveal his reasons for opting to veto the decision of the Bike Share program, the most important being that the Bike Share program can be proposed to the Facilities Fee Board and thus allow for students’ facilities fee to finance the bike share program. Given that there are “millions of dollars in the Facilities Fee Board”, the bike share would be a small, easily-funded project.

Ragland also included that the UPUA would like to avoid a repeat of the downtown office by rushing to spend money with no concrete plans. He was also concerned with issues regarding student interest, where the Bike Share would be placed on campus and what would happen if the bicycle contractor opted to charge for their 5-year program instead of 1 year (their 5-year plan costs $60,000 as opposed to their 1 year plan which costs $15,000). He also questioned if 10 bikes were worth the investment of $15,000.

President Ragland did go on to state that he will be working over the summer with the Facilities Committee to “come up with a more structured plan of action for an efficient Bike Share program.”  Hopefully President Ragland and the Facilities Committee can come up with a great way for students to ride bikes across campus!

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