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September 21, 2023

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New rental bike program allows students to share bikes around campus

Bike Rack

Students can expect to roll along this academic year with the new Orange Bike system, which allows students to share University owned bicycles on campus.

The Orange Bike system is similar to a library card, the Sustainability Coordinator at the University, Nick Hennessy said. Students can sign up, check out, use the bike on campus and leave it for other students to use via bike rack.

“Right now, it is offered as a street service to students,” Hennessy said. “If you need to get around on campus you unlock and hop on an Orange Bike. Everyone that belongs to [the system] gets to share the bikes.”

Graduate student Michael Wiatrowski said he thinks the program is innovative and encourages students to use green transportation.

“I think it’s a great idea, the shared bike system makes it easier to get around,” Wiatrowski said. “It’s really thoughtful of students.”

The bikes were donated to the program at the end of the 2013 spring semester as well as the collection at the end of spring if people left their bikes on campus.

“[We have a workshop] where [people] fix them up and put them in their inventory,” Hennessy said.

Senior Sarah Von Blon has also seen the bikes on campus and thinks the program is a great way for students to get around who can’t bring their bicycle to the University.

“I’m a tour guide and I always point out to incoming students that it’s a program we have,” Von Blon said. “I really like it.”

In addition to the Orange Bike system, the bike racks on campus will be replaced with recycled plastic. The University received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for the purchase of the bike racks, he said. These “bike shelters” will house bicycles on campus and will have a green roof to grow plants on top of the shelter.

“I think it’s a really good, sustainable thing,” Von Blon said. “I know people that have [used the program] and they really enjoy it.”

Classes will be available for students to take where some of the course will involve studying the green roof’s drainage and run-off system, Hennessy said. The building of the shelters will start in the spring.

“I encourage anything that advocates more student engagement and education,” Wiatrowski said. “[The shelters] seems like a good use of money and time.”

As of 2013, the University and Ohio State University are the only schools to have received the EPA grant for the bike racks.

“It decreases run-off [and] it’s a good educational tool as well as a safe place for bikes,” Hennessy said. “We’re able to tie it into educational functions, which is why I think we were able to receive the grant.”

For more information on the Orange Bike Program, go online to the Office of Sustainability on the University’s website.

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