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Indiana Daily Student

Hoosiers 4 Solutions, don’t pursue bike share

For proof of just how much leftists dominate academia, look no further than at the three IU Student Association tickets’ platforms. Each one includes one or more sustainability proposals.

Earth to IUSA candidates: Most Americans believe “global warming” does not pose a serious threat, according to a 2010 Gallup poll.

Where is the ticket that won’t waste my money on sustainability?

Why do student government candidates think they have to be environmentally conscious to be viable contenders?

The worst sustainability proposal comes from Hoosiers 4 Solutions, the ticket this editorial board endorsed Monday, in the form of a bike share program.

Yes, it’s even worse than the solar panels proposed by SPARC for IU, the ticket that forecasts spending up to 30 percent of its budget on sustainability issues.

Bike share programs have a track record of failure.

First, they are expensive. The mayor of San Francisco announced his plans to launch a bike share program featuring a fleet of 50 bikes.

The startup cost? Between $400,000 and $500,000. Annual operating cost? $450,000.
For 50 bikes.

Second, because no one owns them, the bikes routinely get stolen or vandalized.

In 2009, two years after Paris launched its bike share program, the company that maintained the bikes, JCDecaux, had to ask the Parisian government for assistance as it could no longer care for the bikes on its own.

JCDecaux reported that 7,800 of the 15,000 original bikes had been stolen or disappeared, and 11,600 had been vandalized.

NPR reported in 2009 that police had retrieved about 100 of the bikes from the Seine.
Presumably this number would be higher if the French worked more than 26 hours per week.

The Parisian government agreed to front $500 per damaged bike, totaling an estimated $2 million each year as of 2009.

Montreal had to bail out the company that ran its bike share program to a tune of $108 million.

Smaller bike share programs have other problems in addition to theft, vandalism and cost.

In Washington, D.C., the system is inconvenient because there are limited parking options.

Because bikers can only park the bikes in designated spots, at popular destinations during rush hour bikers may not be able to find a parking spot, forcing them to ride around until they find another appropriate bike rack.

Further, more bikes on the roads translates to more dangerous roads.

Anyone who’s driven a car around Bloomington knows how dangerous entitled bikers can be — their smug superiority complex makes them think they own the roads.

Especially concerning is the fact that the company Hoosiers 4 Solutions proposes to run IU’s bike share program, Alta, has had a lot of embarrassing difficulty launching programs in New York and Chicago due to bugs in the software.

The company had to delay launching the programs by months in these two
cities.

Bike share programs do not work, and the only reason people keep proposing them is because they make people feel better about themselves. Cars kill the birds. Bikes save them.

Rather than encourage people to trade cars for an inferior mode of transportation, why doesn’t Hoosiers 4 Solutions try to better accommodate the superior mode?

Here’s a more desirable proposal Hoosiers 4 Solutions should pursue: a giant parking garage in the middle of campus. I think the useless Arboretum offers a fabulous space to build this garage.

The Hoosiers 4 Solutions ticket presents a promising opportunity for IU students. If elected, will they cling to a leftist fantasy that won’t benefit the community, or will they get real and ditch bike share?

­— arcarlis@indiana.edu

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