FAMU revamps bike rental initiative

Photo Credit: Kayla Parker

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) bike rental initiative has a new look after receiving a donation of 10 “LifeGreen” bikes and helmets from Regions Bank.

The program, which was founded in 2005, is a joint effort between Student Health Services and the FAMU Recreation Department that allows FAMU students to rent bicycles for periods of time varying from a day to an entire semester.

Last year, the program took a break to service and restore their fleet of bikes to ensure bike quality. According to Tanya Tatum, FAMU Director of Health Services, a few bikes needed fixing.

“We had to get them serviced and repaired- tune ups on them. So, we hadn’t done a whole lot of rentals, but now we are ready to go,” Tatum said.

The program was applied and awarded a Regions Bank grant in the form of new bikes, which gave the initiative the boost it needed to get back on its feet.

The Regions Bank’s mascot is the “LifeGreen” bicycle, which serves as a reminder to their customers that simplicity, freedom, and friendly service are priorities for the company.

The bank pledged to donate five bikes each year to the FAMU bike rental program for the next four years, a pledge Regions Bank Area Marketing Manager Alicia Somers says she is happy to be a part of.

“Regions Bank is proud of its partnership with FAMU,” Somers told FAMU Sustainability. “We hope to provide FAMU students an easy, enjoyable way to get where they are going.”

The new bikes help continue the bike initiative’s mission of getting students around campus in a sustainable fashion.

The bike program promotes conservation by participating in repurposing or recycling a new item by giving it another use.

In this case, the program is repurposing gas money.

According to the U.S Energy Information Administration, an organization that collects and analyzes energy data, the average driver spends $163.50 on gas per month.

The students that participate in the bike rental program use the money they would spend on gas money on the bike rental instead. A bike from the program cost $25 for a semester, totaling $5 per month. Thus, a student participating in the program saves $158.50 per month by riding a bike instead of driving from place to place.

Many students from FAMU’s Bike and Cycling Club rent the bikes from the program.

Jasmin Reed, a senior biology student from Atlanta, Georgia, served as the FAMU Bike and Cycling Club vice president last year. She says she enjoyed riding her rental through campus.

“[The club] took weekly bike rides,” Reed said. “We would start from student health services where we pick up the bikes from and ride around campus.”

However, students who participate in the program are doing much more than saving money and getting exercise.

Riding bikes reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality by decreasing the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) car emissions.

CO2 is a greenhouse gas, a gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. Excess CO2 is harmful to the environment.

Cars are one of the primary sources of CO2 emissions. As the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports, large amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere are trapping large amounts of heat, which in turn is causing the earth to warm. Several other gasses are contributing to climate change, but CO2 is the most profound.

Artie White, the principal planner for Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department, says biking plays a significant role in reducing harmful CO2 emissions from cars. According to White, this past spring, 215 Tallahassee cyclists voluntarily logged their biking miles from May to September. Combined, the cyclists saved 6,232 pounds of CO2.

“Most vehicles on the road in the US today are gasoline vehicles, and every gallon of gasoline creates about 8,887 grams of CO2 when burned. The 6,232 pounds saved is significant when you consider that of all of the cyclists, only 215 participated in the challenge,” White said.

White also noted that Tallahassee has around 3,000 cyclists who ride bikes regularly.

Any FAMU student can utilize the bike rental program. Students interested in renting a bike are asked to contact Tanya Tatum at 850-599-3777 or at tanya.tatum@famu.edu.