Great Rides Bike Share went to sleep Sunday, but a new study may bring it back for winter.
Ali Rahim Taleqani, a graduate student studying transportation and logistics, created a study to research extending Bike Share into the winter months. His study points out that cycling is difficult during winter due to low temperatures and ice and snow. Some cold weather cities with bike share programs have developed different approaches to keep their systems operational in winter.
Great Rides Bike Share is a season system that started in mid-March with 101 B-cycles available to North Dakota Students with unlimited half-hour checkouts.
Tom Smith, a member of Great Rides’s board of directors, said it will be interesting to see the results of Taleqani’s study, even if Great Rides did not initiate it.
Smith said three main hurdles might make a Bike Share winter extension difficult to accomplish.
“First we want the bikes to last a long time; the students use the heck out of the bikes, which is great, but would the usage stay the same throughout the brutal winter months? We want our bikes used up by riders not Mother Nature,” Smith said.
Another obstacle would be powering the docking stations, as the stations run on solar power, Smith said.
“This is very hard to accomplish in the winter months. Even now in November we are struggling with the sun not being as strong; it will only get worse,” he said.
Safety concerns must also be met in creating a winter extension of Bike Share.
“It will be great to see how many students would be interested in the winter months,” Smith said, “and if we could devise a more efficient way to use solar power than that would be great, but until then it would be a difficult task to undertake.”
The results of Taleqani’s research will be shared at the Cycling Conference in February in St. Paul-Minneapolis.