The very cool Mike Kerns has replied to my question re:bikes on campus:
So this idea was proposed a couple of months ago, but due to logistics, maintenance, and safety/liability concerns we decided to hold off on that plan for the time being (while I looked into another option). The idea that jives with your suggestion had been to purchase extremely cheap bikes and get them fixed up…but the safety, liability, maintenance, etc. were questioned. The option of charging an additional amount to fund the program was also not well-received. As soon as I get some final numbers back from the bike company we’ve been working with of late, I’ll let you know in case you want to come meet with a handful of us to discuss everything and decide how to move forward.
Kudos to Mike to get back to me so quickly.
I’m definitely going to try to meet with the “bike committee”; commenter Ari reports that
Don’t look to Paris for your model — they are a huge city and the cost is pretty high. Hampshire college has the system you’re talking about and they’re relatively closer to our size.
It’s the “yellow bike” system or was when I visited it some four years ago. Basically there are spots in key areas around the school and in the surrounding neighborhood with 4-5 bikes, more for really high traffic areas. Pick it up one place, leave it in another, so long as it’s locked and attached to the appropriate bike rack.
One thing we would need to do is add a bike repair center — someplace that you can drop off a broken bike for problems like flats, gear issues, etc. It’s a pretty simple system, should be able to do it.
Excellent news. I hope the committee takes a good look at the Hampshire model.
I encourage everyone else who cares about the issue to contact Mike and meet with “the bike committee” as well