Bike Share program shelved due to lack of interest
Wal-Mart donated $2,500 to program for purchase of bikes
Bikes for the Bike Share Program in Corbin, purchased with a $2,500 grant from Wal-Mart, are kept under lock and key due to lack of interest in the program. Officials feel the unused bikes may be vandalized if left out in the open.
A Corbin Main Street Program, funded by the local Wal-Mart store and designed to help encourage bike use in the area, has been shelved almost since it began for lack of interest, city officials say.
Last April, Corbin became the second city in Kentucky to start a "bike share" program - an effort that allows citizens to purchase a membership to use, for three hours at a time, bikes that could be checked out from the city's Recreation Center. It was modeled on a similar program in Lexington called "Yellow Bike."
Wal-Mart of Corbin gave the city's Main Street Program $2,500 to purchase seven bikes, and one adult tricycle, all equipped with baskets for storage and locks to deter theft.
Marlon Sams, Director of Parks and Recreation for the city, says the program hasn't really drawn much interest - an idea that that may work in larger towns, but can't really be shoehorned into smaller, more rural towns, like Corbin.
"I think it's something that's probably good in big cities where you have more people and a lot more places to go, but we just don't have that many people here that want to check out a bike," Sams said.
The bikes were made available for months after the program began, but only two people ever checked out a bike. That came very early on, Sams said. Since then, interest dropped to zero.
Now, the bikes are in storage awaiting a new purpose.
Sams said the Main Street Program quickly jettisoned the bike share idea, and it came under the auspices of Parks and Recreation to try to administer the program.
"It's a shame, really. They are nice bikes," Sams said. "We are hoping to use them in some way. We have a few ideas we are looking at."
Sams noted the city is still in the planning stages of a project that may put the bikes to good use. City leaders want to construct a walking/riding path that would wind along Bacon Creek, starting near the Corbin Bypass and stretching all the way into downtown. When it's complete, Sams said he plans on making the bikes available for those interested in using them on the trail.
Until then, they remain under lock and key. Sams said he fears they will be stolen or destroyed if they are simply locked up to a bike rack outdoors. Since no one has shown any interest in riding them whatsoever, they've been put away.
But anyone still interested in using the bikes can still do so. Information about renting a bike is available at the Recreation Center on Barbourville Street.
Anyone seeking more information can do so in person, or by calling 606-528-6657.
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