Friday, September 18, 2009

Clean Air Campus in the Spotlight: Bard College’s Electric Bike-Sharing Program

Walking around the Bard College Campus in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY, you’ll see plenty of hurried college students and racks filled with the bicycles many of them use to get to class. Look closer and you’ll find some of these bikes are electric. Bard, a Clean Air Campus, recently started a bike-sharing program available to the entire college community. Bard is in a relatively rural area, but it is no stranger to the transportation problems that can affect college campuses and fast-developing communities. Bard operates its own shuttle between campus and the two closest towns, but many of the student parking lots nevertheless now regularly run out of spaces as car traffic increases. This new bike program helps solve this problem; students, faculty and staff can sign out the bikes for an entire day. In addition, there are several bikes available exclusively for use by staff for on-campus travel.

As an alternative to motor vehicle travel, the electric bike is perfect for short distances. It has no direct emissions and is easy to use even for those of us with little biking experience. The electricity is run with the push of a button, so the user can peddle as much or as little as wanted. Hopefully, the electric bike also opens the user up to the world of biking itself, to develop a habit of biking and to realize the benefits - personal health, cleaner air and a better environment - that biking offers. This one program will not solve all the transportation and pollution problems that Bard has, but it is nonetheless a step forward and is part of how we ultimately hope to improve transportation at Bard and in the local community. The program foreshadows a cleaner and healthier future, filled with smaller and emptier parking lots. The only way that can happen is through our own individual steps to start the processes by which such change arrives. At Bard College, the electric bike program is an opportunity to do just that.

Guest Blog by Bartek Starodaj, Bard College, a Clean Air Campus, Class of 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Nice, as a small contribution towards clean air I must attract your attention to PALS, PALS is Pure Air Lovers Society it's a growing bunch of people who believe in working towards keeping the air clean.


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