From Hutchinson, Kansas comes news of a new bike sharing initiative in this south-central community of about 40,000 people:
Downtown Hutchinson is about to gain a few more residents.
Not business or people-type residents – but brightly colored bicycles that will be available for community use and sharing.
Jennifer Randall, who is helping with what has been called the Public Bike Project, will make the first three bikes available to the public during this week’s Third Thursday event.
“I have three tuned up and ready to go,” Randall said. “But this isn’t my project. This is Hutchinson’s public bike project. I just gave it a kick in the booty.”
The idea behind it is to make available to the community around 10 bicycles that can be ridden from business to business in the downtown area and left in bike racks for the next person to use.
Be advised, however, they cannot be ridden on downtown sidewalks. City code prohibits bicycles, skateboards and in-line skates “upon a sidewalk within the business district or anyplace within Avenue A Park.”
“It’s not an original idea,” Randall said of the community bikes. “There are other communities that have implemented something like this. It basically just encourages people to bike and also encourages a sense of community in the sense that these aren’t any one person’s bike – they belong to all of us.”
Randall added that she’s hopeful that if the project is popular, it also will spur the city to put more bike racks downtown.
Read more from The Hutchinson News: Community effort steering downtown bicycle project
The bicycles have been donated by local businesses and individuals, and “have been painted by local artists so there will be no confusion about whether they belong to someone else or are part of the public bike project.”
There’s some concern about the bikes being stolen, but Randall is philosophical on this point: “If they do, they do. If someone needs one that bad, OK. We’ll replace it and keep trying.”
Photo courtesy Sandra J. Milburn of the The Hutchinson News