Nice Ride

by Michael Collins

A response to the new Nice Ride program was published in the June 23 issue of The Minnesota Daily and made the claim that it was silly and useless. This is short-sighted postulation without thorough investigation into a well-researched program.
In Montreal, they have 300 stations and 3,000 bicycles. They have been so successful that they have had to make adjustments to their stations to accommodate user demand. Montreal is not Minneapolis, so some further thoughts follow.
First off, the objective of Nice Ride is not simply utilitarian. It provides visibility of bikes and their kiosks. We live in what is considered the most bike-friendly city in the country. Having programs like this make biking more accessible to anyone and everyone, which can only help in the short term and the long term.
It also helps transit commuters. If you work in an area that is covered by Nice Ride, it wouldn’t be necessary to drive to work if you have meetings somewhere else nearby. Admittedly, in an area like the University of Minnesota, there might be less usage because many students already have their own bikes. However, considering the numerous employees here and the fact that the University has traditionally been considered a commuter campus, it might be useful after all.
The pricing stratification also highlights an important concept. If you are willing to pay $60 for a yearly subscription, you can probably afford to get your own bike. It shows the feasibility of biking in a light which will likely inspire more people to bike.
Successful improvement to the bicycle infrastructure should work to co-opt multiple resources and organizations to improve the already built infrastructure and public awareness. This will allow us to move forward toward new solutions, rather than shouting slogans.
Michael Collins, University graduate student