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Richard Weis: What’s wrong with the new bike-share program

Published: 8/23/2016 11:05:06 AM
What’s wrong with the new bike-share program

The bike-share program that’s being rolled out in metro Amherst/Northampton (“Bike sharing program closer to reality” in the Aug. 6 Gazette) seems like an ill-conceived idea financially, as well as in terms of both personal and public safety.

I realize you have to administer the program and maintain the bikes, but spending $1 million to put 234 bikes into service works out to over $4,000 per bike, a pretty steep figure considering that the purchase price per bike is listed as $800.

I have a couple of old Raleigh 3-speeds in my basement I could have contributed for next-to-nothing, and they’re totally bullet-proof.

Alarmingly, I saw no mention of helmets in the article. If one falls off a bike, even at a slow speed, one can do serious damage to one’s head.

Never mind personal responsibility; I don’t want my tax dollar further stretched by the Commonwealth having to pay millions for the care of a bike-sharer who winds up needing lifelong brain injury care.

And finally, a ridiculous number of the folks who currently ride bikes in the area are a menace to themselves in traffic and to pedestrians on the sidewalks. I ride daily, for both commuting and recreation, and am very safety conscious, but even I roll through the occasional stop sign.

Thinking of scores more headphone-wearing, wobbly bike riders buzzing past pedestrians and cutting off cars is pretty terrifying.

So, in the end, if the program is successful, we’ll see a couple hundred helmetless novice bicyclists riding in traffic and on the sidewalks, terrorizing the populace. And if the program is unsuccessful, we’ll have a million dollars’ worth of pretty bikes, their idle chains rusting in the rain.

Richard Weis

Northampton




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