Editorial: Library bike rental program should be a year-round benefit
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 20:10
The UConn Library allows students to rent more than just books. For the past few semesters, they have implemented a system in which students may rent out bicycles to use every day until 5 p.m. Students from all walks of life have found a use for these bike rentals from getting to classes across campus to just leisurely seeing the sights and getting some exercise.
The bikes are safety inspected each time they are used and students are forced to sign a safety waiver and even rent helmets if need-be. Theoretically, the University is not held liable for any injury sustained to students as a result of their use of the bikes. Why then, does this very useful and beneficial system shut down for a majority of the school year in the winter months?
Last year, around mid October, the campus stopped allowing students to rent bikes until just after Spring Break. A likely reason is that with weather conditions like snow and black ice, the risk of injury is too high. Having said that, bike rentals do require students to sign a waiver releasing the university of all responsibility. Therefore, risk is one hundred percent on the students. If they wish to continue using the bikes in the off-months, they should have that availability. This is especially true for students who use the bikes for transportation to classroom buildings far away form their residence halls. Logic would dictate that the winter months are when those people would want to take advantage of the rentals the most.
It is likely that the university will put a hold on the bike rentals again this year and restrict students, specifically those who want the use of the bike but cannot logistically bring one of their own to campus, from riding. Those who implemented the bike rental idea and have made it such a success should be proud of their accomplishment, proud enough to let it continue for as long as possible and provide a service to the UConn community throughout the troubling winter months.
It’s possible that there are logistical factors that aren’t available to the public, but the nuts and bolts of the decision seem to be that winter is a bad time for leisure riding and therefore they scrap the program. Students should call on the university to allow the bike rentals year-round so that they may continue to take advantage of a smart, ingenuitive and helpful service that their school has provided for them.