New bike-share program: bicycle to step in brighter future

Onset to design environment friendly program, on campus initiative would help to lessen off campus green house gases emission in future.

New bike-share program: bicycle to step in brighter future
Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

UC San Diego has launched a new bike-share program that could bring change in how faculty, students, and staff wander around campus.

This novel initiative is taken by UC San Diego in collaboration with Spin. It is a leading bike-share company that offers a fleet of orange-colored smart-bikes. Each bike is equipped with a GPS tracking device that can be used to locate the bikes and, with the Spin app, unlocked by scanning its QR code.

Gary C. Matthews Vice Chancellor for Resource Management and Planning said, “The program is designed to offer the campus community an affordable, environmentally friendly and healthy form of personal mobility.”

“In addition, the initiative helps bring UC San Diego another step closer to achieving carbon neutrality.”

The Spin bike-share program had a soft launch in December with 50 bikes in key campus locations. An additional 250 bicycles were made available by the time of the Jan. 18 kickoff event.

Garry MacPherson, Associate Vice Chancellor of Environmental and Building Services said, “As many of you know, getting around campus can take more than a 10-minute walk, and the campus is continuing to expand.”

“With the Long Range Development Plan, which includes more building east of campus and the Gilman Bridge, we hope to create a more bike-friendly campus that contributes to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing the quality of life for our campus community.”

This complete initiative is for on-campus students, faculty, staff, and visitors. If in case the bike is taken off campus, t should be returned on that same day.

Dave Weil, director of campus sustainability and carbon neutrality said, “With UC San Diego’s push to become a carbon-neutral campus by 2025, encouraging bicycle use through programs like this is key and there is already a lot of excitement on campus about the roll-out of this program.”

Weil added that he has been personally making use of the program, often using Spin bikes to get to meetings two or three times a day.

In addition, student support has been critical to the initiative’s launch.

Mark Dudzinski, president of the Graduate Student Association told the crowd at the Jan. 18 events, “As I was driving to get here today, looking for parking, I thought of how useful this program will be.”

“We are really excited to have this program started so we can help students get from the lab to class and from class to home more easily.”

Lesly Figueroa, president of the UC San Diego Associated Students said, “We have been talking about getting people moving around campus with all the growth and we think this is a wonderful opportunity to address this issue.”

During the pilot phase, the campus will track bike usage and preferred parking areas in order to identify which campus locations will benefit the most from the service.

According to Curt Lutz, marketing manager for transportation services, campus demand, and use patterns will determine fleet and program area expansion opportunities.

Lutz said, “Our new construction, including the new Gilman Bridge, will be very bike friendly.”

“This is exciting for the thousands of commuters who already bike to campus and for all those who want to find an easy and healthy way to get around.”

Ian Happle, a bicycle enforcement officer at UC San Diego said, “Biking can be a fun and safe way to get around.”

New bike-share program: bicycle to step in brighter future
Participants of the program are strongly encouraged to wear a helmet.

“We really encourage everyone to wear a helmet. A helmet can reduce the risk of severe head injury if an accident occurs. You ride at your own risk.”

Users are responsible for providing their own helmet, however, Commute Solutions has a limited number of helmets available for riders to borrow. Riders under 18 years of age must wear bicycle helmets in accordance with state law.

At the end of a ride, users simply park the bike in a responsible location, such as near a bike rack.