Traveling through campus on school days can sometimes be a hassle. During the day, Western Avenue is filled with students, busses, and cars. Crossing the street can feel like a game of Frogger (the classic arcade game), with students dodging cars as they travel from class to class and back to their residence hall. Luckily, a plan has been set into motion to combat the congestion, and that is a bike sharing program. I spoke with Mandi Green, WIU’s sustainability coordinator, to learn more about the program.
The free bike rental program called “Rocky Bikes” offers students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to rent bikes. The bikes are housed at the Physical Plant. And it’s really easy to obtain a bike. All you have to do is show your WIU ID card and you’re free to hit the streets of Macomb for 48 hours. After the 48 hour rental, the bike must be returned to the Physical Plant. Then, you have to wait 24 hours before you can rent a bike again. For those who own their own bicycles, you can even rent tools from the Physical Plant to fix your own bike.
“It’s well used; the bikes are almost always being used…the program has been very successful so far this year,” shared Green. To reserve a bike, you just have to call ahead and make a reservation, or simply stop by the Physical Plant to see if any are available. Bikes can be reserved Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4p.m.
“Rocky Bikes” not only helps students and staff get around campus easier, but as Green pointed out, “We are trying to reduce how many cars come to campus. It’s a safety thing; the less cars the better.” I have definitely noticed the increase in bikes on campus. As a walker myself, it’s important to pay attention where you’re walking because so many people are riding bikes. Although I have not participated in the “Rocky Bikes” program, I believe it is in my near future. Sometimes it’s hectic getting from one interview to another and making my way back to the Alumni House for my internship!
“Rocky Bikes” equals less cars on campus which is better for our environment. It also reduces car accidents and injuries from accidents since less people are driving through Western. Biking is also a great source of exercise, especially with all of the hills and inclines on campus! “Rocky Bikes” is a brilliant way of merging green thinking with providing an alternative way to get around campus.