Students to share bikes

Starting this fall, students can avoid parking lots by cycling to classes across campus.

The OU Bike Share Program will be launching during Welcome Week in an effort to make Oakland University a more bike-friendly campus.

“I think it will expand the culture of recreation and fitness on campus,” said Greg Jordan, director of OU’s department of campus recreation.

Samir Hanna, who graduated in spring with degrees in English and political science, founded the program, which was approved by the administration in April. Hanna said the program will be good for the community and is a necessary part of a college campus.

“Grizz Bikes,” as Hanna called them, will be housed at eight new permanent bicycle racks that are to be placed in front of major buildings throughout campus, such as Dodge and Elliot halls.  

“Dozens of other schools have done this,” Hanna said. “And it’s worked out at other campuses.”

Some schools, like Ohio University, require membership fees and sign-up sheets in order to rent bikes. The OU Bike Share Program will be free of charge and work on the honor system.

“If you need a bike, you go for it,” Hanna said.

A bike task force will keep the honor system in check, monitoring the Grizz Bikes and checking them for needed repairs.

The task force consists of members from OUSC, the dean of students and the department of housing. Kristin Dayag, student body president, said they’re also looking for student volunteers to join.

OUSC is planning to have one or two “Bike Days” a year when bike shops  will come in to repair and tune-up Grizz Bikes.

Dayag said OUSC is also looking to hear from students about what they would like to see happen with the program, and they can make suggestions until August.  

The program will cost about $15,000 —with $9,000 set aside for the purchase an d installation of the new racks — to start and is university funded from various sources, according to Glenn McIntosh, dean of student life.

Initially, 20 bikes totaling about $2,000 will be purchased from the Hub of Detroit, a non-profit bike retail shop whose proceeds go to its youth and adult education program, Back Alley Bikes.  

“The more it’s used, the more bikes they’ll be adding on,” Hanna said.

With plenty of campus paths already in existence, extra trails aren’t currently necessary.

The program is expected to be ready by August, according to McIntosh. OUSC will be hosting a Bike Kickoff to launch the program on Sept. 3 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. outside the Oakland Center between North and South Foundation halls.

“It’s a good program,” said Jordan. “It’ll be interesting to see how people take advantage of it, and I hope they do.”