The Fort Collins Bike Library in Fort Collins, Colorado has been open for only seven months, but it’s already gearing up for a major expansion.
The library currently has about 130 bikes to loan, but hopes to have move that 220 by next year, according to city bike coordinator Dave “DK” Kemp. Next spring, the library, which currently has two locations, also plans to open a new branch on the campus of Colorado State University.
During its summer of operation, the Bike Library has worked to solve two significant issues:
- The library discovered that homeless people were checking out the bikes so they could travel around the city and find work. In order to keep the library bikes available for visitors, the most frequent homeless users were set up with bikes of their own, which they earned by volunteering at least 15 hours at the co-op.
- Too many bikes were coming back with bent rims, broken spokes and other relatively large mechanical problems. “People were abusing the bikes,” Kemp said. The solution: Every library user must now provide a credit card imprint. Kemp said attaching a value to the bikes significantly reduced breakage. “It made people more respectful.”
The bike library is being funded with a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant, which aims to help municipalities find ways to reduce vehicle traffic and air pollution. Kemp said the library believes it has kept 7.3 metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the air because people are using the bikes instead of cars.
Since it opened on April 5, more than 1,700 different people have checked out a bike, reducing vehicle trips by an estimated 15,958 miles. During the summer, all of the library’s bikes were typically in use all of the time.
Read more from the Coloradoan.