Shippensburg University President Laurie Carter cut the ceremonial ribbon this afternoon to introduce the new ShipShare program which allows students, faculty and staff to borrow bicycles from the Ezra Lehman Memorial Library.
SU is not the first school to have a bike sharing program; however, it is the first school in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to have a free bicycle share. The project began in May when the idea was suggested by the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Committee (CVRTC).
The program is intended to allow those who do not have bicycles to be able to bike on campus, downtown and on the nearby Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, according to Allen Dieterich-Ward, associate professor of History and co-chair of the CVRTC Coordinating Committee.
“Many people, whether faculty, staff or students, didn’t have a bicycle, and that limited their opportunities to enjoy many of the things that the town offered whether the rail trail itself or downtown businesses,” Dieterich-Ward said.
Beginning today, anyone who is 18 years old or above with an SU ID may borrow a bicycle. To borrow a bike, you must go to the circulation desk in the library, hand over your SU ID and sign a waiver and release agreement. You will then be given a key which will unlock the assigned bike lock. There is a three-hour time limit, but no limitation to where you may take the bike, according to Associate Dean and Director of Libraries Michelle Foreman.
“We’re really excited to put these bikes in circulation, which is what we do best,” Foreman said, earning laughter from the audience.
As of now, there are five bicycles available to borrow, but two more bikes will be available in the future. The bicycles were bikes that were abandoned on bike racks and collected by SU Police, before being repaired by SU’s Cycling Club, according to Scott Coblentz, president of the SU Cycling Club.
Wearing a helmet is strongly encouraged, but not required, according to Dieterich-Ward. Helmets were to be included in the program, but logistically it did not work out because it would be difficult to have the correct size helmet for everyone who borrows a bike. He said he has plans to work with the bookstore so they can eventually stock helmets.
The ceremony ended with Carter, Student Government Secretary Kelly Logan and Student Government Treasurer Raven Francis taking a lap around the quad on their newly rented bicycles.