WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Sharing Bikes, Sharing The Road

Macomb, IL – Something new is being tried to encourage more people to pedal rather than drive around the campus of Western Illinois University.

It's called a bike share program. The concept is basically the same as checking out a book from the library.

History Professor Peter Cole says any student or faculty and staff member can check out a bicycle for free for up to 48 hours.

"The university sustainability committee, of which I'm a member, is trying to come up with ways to address our environmental footprint and promote more healthy living, off and on campus," says Cole.

The program will start will ten bicycles. One of them was donated. The rest came from the Office of Public Safety, which collects and auctions off unclaimed bicycles on campus.

Cole says a website wil be started for the bike share program. He hopes the program can eventually be expanded to include everyone in the city.

Cole also lauds the city for painting bike lanes onto several streets. He calls it an exciting development.

"You can bike in Macomb on streets where there are not bike lanes, but I think it's very important that there are bike lanes," says Cole. "It increases awareness for car and truck drivers. It acknowledges the legal reality that bikes have a right to the road."

He also says the bike lanes should make the roads safer for everybody.

Cole is part of an organized bike ride in Macomb that takes place on the final Friday of every month. The rides - called Critical Mass Bike Rides - are held in cities around the country.

Those wishing to ride along in Macomb should show up at the Chandler Park fountain at 5:30pm. Costumes are optional for the ride on October 30, the day before Halloween.