Bike Lending Survey - Results Summary & FAQs

Bike Lending Program Survey Results & FAQs


440 people took the survey.

 68% of respondents were at least somewhat interested in checking out bikes from the library; 50 % were very interested.

The top 3 uses for a bike from the library were: Recreation, Exercise and Checking out places along the Bike Trail.

51% of the respondents didn’t already own a bike.

56% of the respondents wanted to participate in any Safe Cycling classes the library might offer.

Most of the respondents were ages 30 – 59.

87 respondents took the time to add a comment or question at the end of the survey. 31 of those comments were positive and excited about the idea. 17 of the comments were ideas and suggestions for the bike lending program. 16 of the comments were requesting the bikes at specific branches. 11 comments were against it or were concerns about the idea.

While most of the comments were supportive and excited about this idea, several respondents had questions or concerns.  

Who is paying for all this?
We are only able to offer this program through a Communities Preventing Chronic Disease grant program through Richland Public Health. We are also working with Richland Moves. A volunteer from that group will be helping us maintain the bikes and offer general guidance and staff training to us, free of charge. We would not be able to offer this program without the generosity and partnership of Richland Public Health and Richland Moves.

Would helmets & knee pads be available?
Answer: Helmets will be required and provided. Library customers can also supply their own safety equipment if they wish.

What is the time limit?
Answer:  The bikes will be checked out and returned the same day. They must be returned 30 minutes before closing time of the day they are borrowed.

Who would pay for damage? How much would it cost?
Answer: We still are determining how we will charge for damage. For now, we can tell you that if the bike has ‘typical’ wear and tear damage (a flat tire, a scrape on the paint, a chain that falls off) we would not charge our customers. If the damage was clearly caused by misuse or neglect, we would assess the cost to repair and then charge that to the customer.

Could a customer return it to a different location than where they checked it out?
Answer: For now we are going to require bikes to be returned to the location from which they were checked out.

Would there be a cost?
Answer: No, library materials and services are always free.

What requirements would there be?
Answer: We have not yet figured out every detail; however we can say that we will require a second form of ID as well as a signature on a borrower agreement form. Additionally, only customers 18 years of age, or older, would be able to borrow a bike.

Would the bikes be stored away during the winter?
Answer: Yes, the Bike Lending Prpgram would be seasonal. During the winter months the bikes will be stored at the Main library.

Who would be in charge of maintenance?
Answer: We have a volunteer who is an experienced bicyclist and runs the local bike group, Richland Moves. He has agreed to train our Building & Grounds department to do basic maintenance and will help us with more complicated issues if needed.

Would you be offering children’s bikes, training wheels?
Answer: We may expand the bike lending program in the future, but for now we will limit the bikes to adults only. For safety and liability reasons, we are not going to be able to offer children’s bikes at this time.

Could you use a donated bike?
Answer: We would consider this at a later date! We see donated bikes as a way to expand the bike lending program in the future, but would need to assess the safety and logistics involved in accepting donated bikes or bike equipment.

Would a customer be able to use a library card from any city?
Answer: Initially, no. Only M/RCPL library card holders could check out bikes.

What about theft?
Answer: Unfortunately, theft is something that we deal with for all of our materials. We would be sure to put several specific security measures into place for our bikes, the same way we have security measures in place for our other materials. Customers who borrow a bike will be responsible for possible theft of that bike, just as they would be responsible for the theft of any other library materials they may have borrowed. We will be including a sturdy bike lock with each bike we loan.

In answer to a few other comments:

Loaning more than just adult bikes (tow behinds, children’s bikes, training wheels, adult tricycles, etc.)
Answer: We are going to start small and grow our bike collection gradually as we gain more experience in offering bikes at the library. We are starting with two different sizes as well as offering both 1 speed and 3 speed bikes. At some point, if we are able to partner again with Richland Health, or write a grant to pay for them, we may add other types of bikes or bike equipment.

How does lending bikes fit within the mission of the library?
Answer: The answer to this question lies in Access. Public Libraries were originally created to provide access to information (books) to people who were not wealthy enough to afford the have their own private library. This has evolved over the years to include access to entertainment (movies and music), access to education (free databases, workshops, programs and various educational tools) and access to connectivity (free internet access).

The Library’s goal is to level the playing field for our customers, offering FREE access to materials, connectivity, tools, information, assistance and education or training they may not be able to purchase for themselves. In our opinion, the next evolution of libraries is, in part, offering access to health and wellness information, health education or health and wellness training and tools.

Our Blood Pressure Cuff Kits and Air Quality Monitors are just two examples of this. Many people in our community have little to no ability to afford gym memberships, workout videos, testing kits, exercise equipment, etc. Health issues cause a host of other problems: inability to work, massive medical expenses, inability to participate in life, etc. But there are a few very simple, things that if made freely available, can help in limiting these issues, allowing people to be fully functioning, contributing members of the community.

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