23,000 students sharing 50 bicycles?

DKS Editors

Flashfleet bike rental program could be a healthy, green initiative for the Kent campus. But it lacks bikes, and some of its stipulations might not fit a student schedule.

The university’s new bike rental program, the Flashfleet, isn’t a bad idea. We just don’t think it’ll work.

Starting yesterday, students could check out bikes from six locations for free. The bicycles come with a helmet and a lock. Just bring your FlashCard and take a bike.

“It’d be like a Red Box for bicycles,” one official said.

Sounds great, but maybe it’s not.

There are 23,000 students on the Kent campus. There are 50 bikes.

And if you rent a bike, you have to bring it back that day; students can’t keep them overnight. The hours at the rental locations are 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

That’ll give you 13-and-a-half hours to run all your errands and get the bike back before they close. Running late? That’ll be a fine.

And if you need a bike in the first place, what’s your mode of transportation to reach the rental facility?

The program’s creators have said that Flashfleet will alleviate automobile congestion around campus. Can’t argue with that.

But what about bicycle congestion? Particularly on the University Esplanade, where ruthless bikers zip past pedestrians during the walkway’s rush hours.

Here’s another hypothetical: Suppose you’ve got a 2:15 p.m. class and a small window of time during which you need to grab a bike and make it to class on time.

You hike and sweat your way over to Centennial to pick up a bike, and there aren’t any left — and now you’re late. Officials have said that if the program is successful they’ll buy more bikes.

We hope it’s successful. And we hope they do.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.