By Heather Lusk
Want to rent a bike to explore Boone County? The concept is being discussed, though it’s still in the initial phase.
“It’s an idea we’re interested in,” said Molly Whitehead, executive director for the Boone County Economic Development Corp.
The idea was proposed by Megan Swain, director of community development with BCEDC, who is working on quality of life projects throughout the county. Swain recently invited bike share platform Zagster to be part of a discussion between the towns of Zionsville, Lebanon and Whitestown to determine how each area could utilize the program.
“We want to grow in a smart way, and we want to be able to make all of Boone County a place where people want to live and work,” said Whitehead, adding that bike share programs could benefit tourism as well as connect business parks.
Through the program, users rent a bicycle for a short period of time. Payment options vary from company to company, with some requiring a credit card payment at a docking station and others offering payment through an app.
“Of course, if it’s a Boone County initiative we really need to have the trail system throughout the county completely linked up,” Whitehead said. “We lack that connectivity right now, especially between Lebanon and Whitestown. That’s something that really has to go hand-in-hand, we believe.
Bike sharing is popular at colleges and universities in Indiana. There also are programs in Indianapolis and Carmel.
The number of bike share systems nationally has increased steadily each year since 2010, when the concept came to the U.S., according to the National Association of City Transport Officials. Carmel’s program, operated by Zagster, quadrupled in one year since its 2015 launch and has expanded into Westfield.