PROVO Provo residents have one less excuse to avoid physical activity now, courtesy of the Dasani Blue Bikes Program, which has formed a partnership with Provo city to provide 20 bicycles for public use around the city.
Provo residents can gain access to the bikes, stored at seven lockers located throughout the city, by visiting the Provo City Parks and Recreation Department (351 W. Center St.) to sign a waiver form and pay a $10 deposit. Program participants will then be given a swipe card to access the lockers.
The Dasani Blue Bikes Program began last year and includes eight cities around the nation. Jim Price, a project manager with the Mountainland Association of Governments, said he was able to persuade friends at the Rails to Trails Conservancy, which is partnered with Dasani for the program, to choose Provo.
"They were looking at Salt Lake, and I told them we ought to do it down here instead, and they agreed after 10, 15 seconds," Price said. "So it wasn't really that hard to get them here; they were really interested in the trail system here."
Max Mitchell, Provo city assistant director over parks, said Provo's goal in implementing the Dasani program was to avoid having the program take on an exclusionary nature like similar programs have done in other cities.
"Our thing that we needed to do was figure out how we were going to make this available to the public anybody, not just somebody who belongs to a riding club or something and still maintain the bikes and be able to monitor the program," Mitchell said.
That wide-open availability is what made Price work to bring the program to Provo.
"The point is that this will be an opportunity for residents to get out and use the trails more at their own whim," he said.
The Blue Bikes Program began in Provo last fall but until now was available only to city employees because of liability and availability issues. Mitchell said the program started slowly because it began shortly before winter, but it has been embraced by many city employees as they shuttle between city buildings.
Now that the program is available to the public, bicycle advocates are hoping it catches on.
"We're really lucky to have this problem in Provo; I just can't believe we got it," said Gil Bradshaw, chairman of the Provo Bicycle Committee. "We're really fortunate, and I hope people take advantage of it."
Blue Bike lockers are placed at seven locations throughout the city Provo City Center (351 W. Center St.), Wells Fargo Building (50 E. 100 North), Provo City Public Works Office (1377 S. 350 East), Geneva Road Trailhead (270 N. Geneva Road), Exchange Park (700 W. 900 North), Carterville Park (2400 N. Carterville Road) and Riverview Park (4620 N. 200 West).The city has two lockers remaining, which it hopes to place in business parks at a later date.