Library for cyclists idea makes big splash

By Kelly Gibbs

Jeff Morrell of Fort Collins, CO had exciting news to share with the St. Augustine City Commission on Monday, March 14.

The idea: a bike library where people can check out bikes free of charge and return them within the week.

Morrell started a bike library in Fort Collins recently and has had huge success. “We opened the library with 25 bikes and they were gone within five minutes,” Morrell said at the bi-weekly meeting, “So now we’ve upgraded to 200.”

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline was the one who invited Morrell to share his idea at the meeting and is excited about the idea. “It’s still just a concept, but I’d like to get people involved and a leader behind it,” Sikes-Kline said.

She also mentioned a bike-sharing plan that a teacher at Flagler had his class make called the “Bike sharing project”. The professor was Ernest Driscoll and students involved were Kaitlin DeWald, John Markell, Jim Stiller and Dustin Henry.

Their project points out that bike-sharing plans are popping up all over the country and even has a list of possible bike-holding locations around St. Augustine. One issue is theft, which was rampant in Europe when bike libraries first appeared. However, Morrell said they curb this phenomenon by requiring credit card information when someone checks out a bike, just to make sure they ride back at the end of the week.

“If I can keep getting this kind of support, we can hopefully work with the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) that’s working on the bike plan now in St. Augustine and get them to work with us on this too,” said Sikes-Kline.

If the city commission and TPO can work together on this, we could have our own bike library grace the city of St. Augustine.

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