Members of ASNMU have drawn up the framework for a bike initiative that would allow students to check out bicycles at a station, use the bike until it is no longer needed and return it to a designated station, for no rental fee.
The program is tentatively set to start in fall, 2009.
The plan is to take bikes that are left behind by students at the beginning of winter when students are asked to take their bikes off of the bike rikes. ASNMU will then use them for this program.
“Each year NMU has so many bikes that are cut off of the bike racks, and usually they are just given to Salvation Army or Goodwill, or donated to various other places,” said ASNMU President Jason Morgan.
Morgan said an obstacle is getting the go-ahead from lawyers about using the abandoned bikes, and if the bikes cannot legally be used then the project may be delayed.
“If we can’t find bikes, we’ll be put off a year, hopefully not more,” Morgan said. “We’ve been looking at other schools’ programs to figure out exactly how they work, and we’ve noticed all the programs work a little bit differently. We’re trying to find out what works best for NMU.”
The tentative stations to check out or drop off a bike, Morgan said, are the Learning Resource Center, the University Center, the Physical Education Instructional Facility, near Payne/Halverson and another undecided location. Morgan said the stations would have to be near a desk where student IDs could be scanned, similar to how a book is checked out from the library.
“What we want to do is scan a student’s ID card, so if the bike is damaged or missing the fee will be charged directly to the student’s account,” said Amy Hickey, former ASNMU off-campus representative who began the program.
Hickey said the program would start with a small amount of bikes and expand as it gains popularity.
“We hope to start out with 25 bikes total, five bikes and five stations. We would probably shift it after a month, after seeing where people check out bikes the most,” she said.
Hickey said while ASNMU is spearheading this project, anyone who is interested in seeing the program come to fruition is welcome to volunteer their help.
When it comes to Public Safety’s policy on abandoned property, Victor Laduke, investigator for NMU Public Safety, said it can only be changed with the authorization of Ken Chant, director of Public Safety.
Laduke also said there are multiple liability issues involving provisions for helmets and the possibility of injury while using school property.
“If we put bikes out there and a student uses it and gets hurt the school is liable,” Laduke said.