Tampa Bay Campuses Offer Bike Programs

Tampa students, faculty and staff don't have to fight traffic or prowl lots for that ever-evasive parking spot. They can get a bicycle. For free.

The University of Tampa (UT) joins the University of South Florida (USF) in offering free bike rentals to those living, attending classes or working on campus. According to UT's Assistant Director of Campus Recreation Katie White, the Tampa campuses are merely following what other campuses across the country are doing.

"It's definitely a trend," says White. "More and more universities are going this way as they're trying to minimize auto traffic and encourage sustainable transportation."

According to White, students, faculty and staff can rent a bike for free on a daily basis by signing one out in morning and afternoon time slots. Bikes must be returned by dark to avoid a late fee. White says that although students didn't ask for the service, it's caught on nevertheless.

"This is a pilot program," explains White. "So far, the response we've gotten has been great. I'd like to expand the types of bikes we offer. Right now they're all mountain bikes. But I would like to add cruisers and road bikes. I'd also like to add a maintenance program for those who own their own bikes, as well as a safety program."

The University of South Florida's Borrow Our Bikes (BOB) program has a similar operational structure. "Our program started in August 2010," says Chris Marks, USF's associate director of Campus Recreation. "We have 30 bikes, locks, helmets and lights—and it's enjoyed a positive response. We're getting close to 1,000 total check outs so far."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Katie White, The University of Tampa; Chris Marks, University of South Florida
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