Biking into a new future
Bike sharing program soon to be launched on campus and downtown
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 15:09
The Kilbourne Group held an informational luncheon to discuss a potential bike share program to be implemented in the Fargo-Moorhead community on Sept. 5.
The event was hosted by Doug Burgum of Kilbourne Group, an alumni and strong supporter of NDSU. Burgum has been actively involved in the Fargo-Moorhead community in the past and is an active advocate of renovation of downtown Fargo.
As of now, the bike share system is going to be launched in the two most widely used areas of Fargo. A network of fully automated bike docs with GPS tracked bikes will be installed throughout downtown and the NDSU campus. Users will be able to access a bike with their student ID or a membership card. The system will also include a smart phone application.
“The end result is an additional option of transportation that will further support the growth of the NDSU campus and downtown area of Fargo,” 2011-2012 NDSU Student Body President Cam Knutson said.
New bike lanes are being currently installed between the NDSU campus and downtown, and will be finished by the end of fall. The new bike lanes will work well with the launch of the bike share program and provide the necessary background for successful implementation.
A successful pilot could potentially lead to an expansion throughout the whole F-M community, as well as spread to other areas of North Dakota and Minnesota.
One of the benefits of a bike share system is, along with the MAT bus, an additional transportation option that is fast and environmentally friendly. Bicycling also provides a number of health benefits and is an additional easy way of exercising every day.
The bike share system would also save users a substantial amount of money, since they would not have to pay for gas, car insurance, parking and other expenses that come along with automobile use.
The idea for the Fargo Bike Share program was first introduced in the fall of 2011, when City Commissioner Mike Williams began collaborating with former NDSU Student Body President Cam Knutson and other Student Government leaders.
NDSU Vice-Chair of the Student Senate Walter Lanza, NDSU Student Senator 2011-2012 Robbie Lauf, NDSU Graduate Student Aaron Feikert and the owner of Great Northern Bicycle Company Tom Smith were involved in the planning and carrying out of the project.
Bike share systems have been popular in Europe, Canada and some of the metropolitan U.S. cities for a number of years, and the group believes that a bike share system can provide numerous benefits to the F-M community and be widely used. The closest bike sharing system in the Midwest is in Minneapolis. Cities such as Denver, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC have had bike sharing for a number of years.