It’s hard to walk through campus and not see someone riding down the street on a bright blue PeaceHealth bike.
The bike-share program, which launched last April, has become a noticeable fixture in the Eugene community that serves as an alternative for students and faculty to commute to classes.
According to PeaceHealth’s six month bike-usage data report, over 120,000 trips have been taken and the bikes have logged over 147,000 miles.
“The bike share has definitely been incorporated into the campus community as a transit resource to help [students] get around,” Lindsey Hayward, general manager of PeaceHealth bike-share, said. “A lot of the stations are placed on campus or around campus, so it makes for a really convenient way to commute and another transportation option.”
Despite its success at the university and in Eugene, local shop owners said the PeaceHealth bikes are not putting a strain on their shops.
Susan Kelley, the owner of Blue Heron Bicycles, located close to campus on East 13th Avenue, said she thinks the PeaceHealth bikes are meant for people who aren’t ready to buy a bike of their own.
“If you really like bicycles, [PeaceHealth bikes] can never replace one because it’s not the same kind of feel. That’s the magic of finding a bicycle you love,” Kelley said.
Kelley said she reduced the number of bikes she has available for rental from around 23 to now around 12 because of the PeaceHealth bikes; however, she said her bikes available for purchase have not been affected by the PeaceHealth bikes.
“Will a bus take over a car? I don’t think that will ever happen. I think the independence of Americans is pretty strong, and we like to express our individuality,” Kelley said.
Andrew Neill, the store manager of Bicycle Way of Life on Alder Street, said his shop has not been affected by the PeaceHealth bikes either.
He said the bikes cater more to the causal rider rather than regular everyday commuters.
“Most people who want to commute on a regular basis like the peace of mind of having their own bike to ride,” Neill said.
Jay Leow, the owner of Hutch’s Bike Shop located on Charnelton Street, said his shop wasn’t affected by the bikes either.
He said the PeaceHealth bikes were bigger and heavier than other bikes.
“Our bikes are much lighter and more enjoyable to ride,” Leow said.
PeaceHealth offers two plans to members of the University of Oregon community. The first plan gives members 15 minutes of free riding each day, and additional minutes are 10 cents more.
The second plan is $5 a month for 60 minutes of free riding a day, and additional minutes are 10 cents.
As of last October, there were 2,280 people on PeaceHealth’s UO monthly plan and 2,185 on the 15 minutes free plan, according to the six month report.
Hayward said the use of the bikes has been much higher than expected at a usage rate of 2.22, well above the national average of 1.7 for bike-share programs, Hayward said.
Usage rates represent the bike-share’s utilization compared to other bike-share programs of different sizes, according to the PeaceHealth six month report.
They are calculated through dividing the number of trips taken by the number of bikes in the system, according to the PeaceHealth six month report.
PeaceHealth partnered with the UO to engage students in academic ways as well.
Hayward said they worked with the UO marketing department to conduct focus groups on PeaceHealth’s presence at the university.
Hayward said the PeaceHealth team will be working to make the bikes more accessible to students through educating them on how to register for a bike plan and how to use the bikes.
The most popular hubs are on 13th and Kincaid and the EMU, Hayward said. These stations are typically at 200 percent capacity during peak times.
The bike-share holds 300 bikes at 35 stations, or hubs, throughout Eugene. The share is a partnership with the city of Eugene, Lane Transit District and the University of Oregon and is sponsored by PeaceHealth, Hayward said.
The ASUO partnered with Eugene Transportation and invested nearly $200,000 to start the bike share program on campus, according to the PeaceHealth press release.
Correction: This article was corrected on Saturday morning. Andrew Neill is the store manager of Bicycle Way of Life's location on Alder Street, not on Charnelton Street. The spelling of Neill's last name was corrected as well.