Above photo: To promote its new bike rental program, Student Government provided a bicycle tour with local muralist Derek Donnelly (blue shirt). Dylan Hart | The Crow’s Nest
By Dylan Hart
The USF St. Petersburg bike rental kicked off Feb. 9 with an invigorating tour of downtown St. Petersburg’s murals led by local muralist Derek Donnelly.
The bike rental is a new program on campus allowing students to rent bicycles for a period of time, anywhere from a day to a semester. It will be similar to canoe and kayak rentals at the boat house.
The bicycles are available at The Edge during normal hours, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
While a bike rental program existed on campus several years ago, issues with bike theft and dilapidation led to the program’s end.
“The bikes degraded and the upkeep wasn’t funded,” said sustainability coordinator Byron Baugh. “We went from around 15 bikes to two that were in working order.”
In spring 2017, a student initiative led by the Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) moved to fund a new bike rental on campus with intent to provide environmentally friendly forms of transportation. That initiative progressed into the bike rental now provided at The Edge.
The partnership of SGEF, Campus Recreation and Student Government intends to remedy previous funding issues with a specific plan to continuously fund and maintain the bike rental. To discourage theft, the bicycles bought for the bike rental are more difficult to strip than the previous program’s bicycles.
Baugh praised Campus Recreation’s collective experience with bicycle maintenance.
Bikes, bike locks, helmets, bike lights and flyers that explain how to properly lock the bike will be provided.
Students must provide their USF ID to rent a bike, which will go through Campus Recreation’s point of sale software, Fusion. Students must sign a waiver to check out a bike, accepting responsibility for injury and damage to the bicycle.
Daniel Marshall, watercraft, adventure and aquatics coordinator for Campus Recreation, said, “Ultimately, it will be the renter’s responsibility to secure the bikes properly, and it will be their responsibility if it’s stolen.”
This story was updated at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
An earlier version of this article referred to the program as a “bike share.” However, “bike share” is used to describe a “drastically different service that’s automated, available 24/7 and as a transportation tool to be used for one way trips.”