The University of New England and Ripon College in Wisconsin are giving free bikes to freshmen who promise to leave their cars at home. Other colleges are setting up free bike sharing or rental programs, and some universities are partnering with bike shops to offer discounts on purchases.
Some other universities, including Emory, are offering free rentals to students and staff to encourage alternatives to driving on and near campus!
This is a great idea, in my humble transit-friendly opinion. A quick aside here – a friend of mine goes to school in the Midwest, and he’s car-free. Every day, he gets bike off of the community rack, goes to class, rides around campus, etc. then brings it back to the same rack he got it from. Not only is this bike sharing program free, but he feels like he’s in control of his time because he doesn’t have to take his campus transit.
Campus buses are notoriously crowded around here, so I’d welcome a bike rental program or giveaway to go with my uber-expensive tuition!
The only problem I foresee with a program like this is that people may try to steal these bikes because they are expensive, so it might be reasonable to look for less expensive bikes to give away to students.