WKU unveils news electric bike rentals on campus
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Wheels electric bikes have made their debut at Western Kentucky University.
“This is something that was in the works actually pre-COVID. When our previous bike hare vendor left campus, we started looking for new providers,” said Jennifer Tougas, Assistant Vice President for Business Services for the university.
Students can walk up to any of the 50 bikes currently on campus, and rent them using the Wheels app.
“We have 25%, or more of our students who live on campus and actually don’t bring a car,” Tougas said. “So this is a great way for them to have access to transportation that will be able to take them downtown or into South Campus.”
So far, student response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I think they’re sick. I think they’re awesome,” said junior Jack Rogers. “Super fun, they’re free, I can just go ride around with my boys after class.”
“I definitely think that was the right move. Definitely easier on people, especially with the hill,” said freshman Carson Niehaus.
Though the bikes come with no helmet or padding, students said they don’t have any safety concerns.
“There’s not really a concern because you’re sitting and it’s pretty stable,” said junior Lucas Trautwein. “The speed’s not overwhelming and the acceleration is not overwhelming, so you’re able to maintain and hold control over yourself. "
Wheels has a safety record of 1 injury per 74,577 miles, and bikes will only be able to go seven miles an hour on campus with GPS tracking.
“We’re able to set speed limits in certain parts of campus,” Tougas said. “Pedestrian cores like Centennial Mall are a great example of that. We don’t want to see the Wheels bikes going 20 miles an hour when we have a bunch of students that are walking between classes.”
Though that’s plenty fast for most students.
“It’s just easy. You just kind of twist it and it goes,” Rogers said. “You could pop wheelies and cool stuff, do burnouts. I like the electric bikes.”
Though the number of bikes is limited now, students are hopeful for more.
For more information on the bikes, visit the Wheels website.
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