Bike sharing coming to Michigan?
Demonstration event near Capitol draws politicians, advocates, plenty of interest
A network of bike sharing stations throughout Lansing and East Lansing is the vision of organizers trying to raise money and interest in the program, which could be replicated in other Michigan cities if it is successful in mid-Michigan.
Representatives from B-Cycle—which runs bike share programs nationwide—were on hand during a June demonstration near the State Capitol building hosted by the Capital Community Bike share planning committee. Local and state elected officials, bike advocates and citizens took spins on the B-Cycle bike and learned how it works.
According to the League of Michigan Bicyclists, the program would need about $100,000 to launch four stations with about 20 bikes. “Fund raising is under way,” said Eric Schertzing, chairman of the Ingham County Land Bank and a lead organizer of the effort.
The B-Cycle system uses a series of bike stations where riders can pick up and return rentals at their convenience. Downtown office workers, students and visitors could be among those taking advantage of the system.
How B-Cycle worked for one MEC staffer in San Antonio
Hugh McDiarmid, Jr., communications director for the Michigan Environmental Council, made frequent use of the B-Cycle system in San Antonio, TX, during a trip there in June with his wife, Karen. His observations:
- It made our experience far more interesting. “Finding the B-Cycle network was terrific. Since we did not have a car, it fundamentally changed our experience by allowing us to get to many parts of the city we otherwise would never have seen.“
- It was user-friendly. “You insert your credit card in the kiosk, and then select a bike from the rack, which automatically unlocks it for you. When you’re done, you roll it into a slot at any B-Cycle station, and it automatically locks it back up for you, recording your time of usage.”
- It was affordable. “It was $10 per bike per day, plus small usage charges for the time you have the bike out. All told, we rented bikes three different days, spending several hours each day riding. The cost for both of us was about $100, total.”
- It was brand new. “There was some excitement about it. When we were locking our bikes up at an I-Hop Restaurant one morning, the waitresses all came over to watch us. They’d heard about it, but never seen the bikes until we rolled in.”
- It could work here. “I think in some places, yes, it could work. What made it work well in San Antonio was that there were bike lanes and lots of signage to help visitors navigate the city on two wheels. Michigan—with its move toward Complete Streets and streetscapes that are friendlier to cyclists and pedestrians—is moving in that direction.”
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