Get on a red bike and ride; City, volunteers mulling ride share program

Published 10:42 am Thursday, June 18, 2015

A new bike sharing program could give Austinites more exercise opportunities next spring.

Vision 2020 volunteers are working with the city of Austin to create the Red Bike program, where residents can borrow a designated bike from the city free of charge any time they want.

“It’s on your honor,” Vision 2020 Bike/Walk Trails Committee Chair Steven Kime said. “Ride, respect, return.”



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Kime got the idea after he read about similar bike share programs in Willmar and the Twin Cities.

According to Kime, volunteers would gather bikes through donations, police forfeitures and other means, and paint them bright red after Rydjor Bike Shop fixed them up. The bikes would then be stationed around town in designated racks for anyone to borrow.

Vision 2020 volunteers will seek funding from the Statewide Health Improvement Program to fund the Red Bike project.

Though the system is based on the honor code, Kime acknowledged the Red Bike program could be abused by people who want to steal a bike. Yet police and Parks and Recreation employees may help to get the bikes back if they see missing models around town, according to Kime.

In addition, some people may just need to keep a bike.

“It’s going to be pretty obvious if you stole a bright red bike where you got it from,” Kime said. “Maybe we’ll just, if we find them, we’ll get them back to the rack.”

Kime and other volunteers will meet with city officials next month to flesh out the program. If all goes well, the project could launch in spring 2016.