PRCC continues bike rentals, adds campus bike paths this semester

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Pearl River Community College students are now able to rent bicycles for use in the Poplarville area.
The Wildcat bikes can be rented for an hour or two, or for the whole semester at a flat rate.
After receiving $198,171 in grant funding from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, the PRCC Wellness Center purchased 72 maroon and gold custom-painted bikes to ease students’ travel both on and off campus, PRCC Health, Physical Education, & Recreation Department Chair Tara Rouse said.
The bikes can be rented free of charge for an hour, $15 for half a semester or $25 for the whole semester, she said.
“We hate to even charge a fee,” Rouse said, adding that the funds are used for maintenance of the bikes.
The grant included bike racks that were placed around campus near the entrance of several buildings.
“They have absolutely loved it,” Rouse said about the program, which has been in place for a couple years. “They’re not necessarily doing it just for exercise, they’re doing it for fun.”
This year though, the school is working on an improvement to the existing rental program by adding designated bicycle lanes throughout campus to make riding safer on campus.
Students are also able to take the bikes off campus for work, activities or any shopping they may need to do in town, Rouse said.
Rentals are booked and paid for at the Wildcat bookstore before picking up the bike at the Wellness Center. There, renters fill out a form, learn the rules of the road and sign a contract for the bike’s return, Rouse said. Each bicycle is equipped with reflectors, a bike lock and a helmet.
Wellness Center staff will even adjust the bike to fit the student’s height, she said.
To rent a bike, students must be enrolled in the free physical education class at the Wellness Center, which requires them to get a certain amount of physical activity hours throughout the semester, Rouse said.
Community members can also enroll in the free physical education class and become eligible to rent a Wildcat bike, she said.
With 72 bikes, the college is able to accommodate everybody, Rouse said.
But representatives of the program have also encouraged students to bring their bikes from home.
“That’s what we want to encourage; to get people to be more active and healthy, and not driving a car everywhere,” she said. “Parking is ridiculous anyway, so why not just pull your bike right up to the building?”

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About Julia Arenstam

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