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Our Opinion: Bike share program a win-win for residents, visitors

Our Opinion: Bike share program a win-win for residents, visitors

May 10th, 2018 by News Tribune in Opinion

We're eager to see the implementation of a new program that could encourage bike riding on our city's greenway system and throughout the city.

We recently reported that the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is working to contract with a private company to operate a bike-share rental program within the city. The program could be implemented as early as mid-June.

Skinny Labs Inc. (doing business as Spin) could provide 150 bicycles that could be checked out by visitors and residents. Using a smartphone app, users could check out the bikes and pay $1 for 30 minutes. Spin also would offer an alternate payment method for people who do not have smartphones or credit cards.

We like the idea.

As we've said before, our city has an excellent greenway system that, over the last quarter century, has been interconnected throughout the community.

Almost anywhere in the city, you don't have far to go to jump on a portion of the greenway, and walk or ride to your heart's content.

This program has the potential to make it easy and affordable for people — who may not have their own bikes — to ride the greenway.

A family of four could go on a 2-hour ride for $16. That's a fraction of the price of going out for popcorn and a movie or out to dinner, and you'll be burning calories rather than packing them on.

We also like that the program would be implemented without the use of city tax money. The city would contract with the company to operate here, but Spin operates as a for-profit business.

The bikes would be "dockless" — they wouldn't be docked at designated bike stations. Spin and the city can designate areas where they encourage people to park their GPS-equipped bikes, but Spin will send out staff at the end of every day to relocate all bikes back to the designated areas.

We believe the concept is a great way to encourage bike riding as a means of entertainment and transportation, and a way to do so without use of taxpayer money.