Bike Share bikes becoming an endangered species

By Postie Editors

You’ve seen them before. They’re bright pink, have two wheels and aid to your commute around campus.

They are the Bike Share bikes and they are about to become extinct.

Started three years ago by members of the Oakland University Student Congress, a division of Student Affairs, University Housing and Campus Recreation in 2009, the Bike Share program has had problems with bike mortality rates.

Of the 260 bikes purchased at the beginning of the year,  a mere 23 percent, or 60 bikes, are left.

While we can’t put the blame on one specific group, we are just disappointed in the entire situation.

Oakland’s Bike Share policy states online that it “serves to promote physical fitness and eco-friendliness,” and the program has been based on an honor system of sharing designated bicycles since it first started.

According to the program’s rules, the bikes are limited to OU’s main campus.

However, bikes have been spotted mangled all around campus and off campus, too.

There have been reports and sightings of Bike Share bikes at Beacon Hill Apartments, the Busch’s shopping plaza, all along Walton Boulevard and as far away as Pontiac.

And students aren’t the only ones that are using them incorrectly.

Last week’s Mouthing Off column featured a picture of a Bike Share bike being mistreated. The photo was of someone who doesn’t even attend OU submerging one of the bikes into Beer Lake.

The Bike Share program is a privilege on our campus and it deserves more respect. Abusing the bikes and the program is ruining it for everyone.

That is where the problem lies.

OUSC is currently working with campus recreation to develop a plan to keep the program going. Present ideas include a universal lock system that would require students to place a deposit on the bikes in order to be able to receive the universal key.

The hope is that students, by becoming invested in the bikes, will begin to take better care of the devices they’re using. It will also help decrease the amount of theft from the people who couldn’t care less.

Other universities around the country have similar Bike Share programs, but they have implemented a system where students use their student IDs to check out a bike, lock and helmet.

Such a program with oversight would help to keep bikes on campus at all times and will ensure they are returned in good condition.

Though we understand that a program like that could cost upwards of $100,000, a set policy to check out bikes is necessary.

Brett McIsaac, student services director, said OUSC is not planning on increasing the number of bikes for the rest of the semester. So unless everyone starts to handle them correctly, we fear they will soon be extinct.

If you see a bike that is broken, or find one off campus, you can text the bike’s location to [email protected]. Include the bike’s number located on handlebar and the rack location.

And please, be more careful with them. Don’t ruin it for others.

The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The Oakland Post’s editorial board.