St. Lawrence University, NY Green Bikes Program

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Type: Program

Status: Launched in 2004

Source File:


The Green Bikes are now in storage for the winter. The bikes were available for loan to SLU students, faculty and staff during the spring and fall. To borrow a bike (and helmet and lock) just stop by the ODY circulation desk. The program is an initiative to make bikes available to the campus community in the hope that people will choose to use the bikes as transportation in place of a car for campus and local ventures.

  • The initiative is an effort to reduce the amount of air pollution, noise pollution, and use of fossil fuels around campus.
  • At this local level, we are not only improving the health of those around us, but we are contributing to the global effort to reduce fossil fuel dependency and the emissions that contribute to global warming.
  • We also recognize that biking provides students with the opportunity for exercise and the promotion of physical well-being.

In 2004, a pilot Green Bikes Program was launched with donated bikes and used bikes that had been purchased at the Canton Police Department auction. The bikes were painted green and marked with "One Less Car" stickers. They were located at the Greenhouse and were available for students to use for transportation around campus. This initial pilot program did not go as well as expected because 1) the bikes were initially in poor condition and therefore, unsafe; 2) the system of borrowing and returning bikes was inconsistent, so often times bikes were never returned to the Greenhouse after use; 3) due to the initial poor condition of the bikes and lack of borrower accountability, the maintenance demand was too much for the two maintenance student volunteers. However, we received very positive feedback about the Green Bikes Program from the campus community (in the form of an email survey), and feel like this is a valuable service to continue to provide.

The new program attempts to overcome these initial challenges. We now loan new, rugged, simple bikes that are able to withstand heavy use and require only routine maintenance. We have also developed a new borrowing system that is based at the ODY Library. Students, faculty and staff may check out the bikes from the library for a 24 hour period. Each borrower is issued a bike lock and offered a helmet. The condition of the bike will be noted at the check-out time and re-evaluated when 
it is checked back in. This system holds individuals accountable for any damage to the bikes.

The Green Bikes Program is available to all faculty, staff, and students at St. Lawrence University. This program is being completed in conjunction with the Greenhouse and the Library staff.