UCD staff and students offered to try a folding bicycle for free for six weeks

UCD staff and students can now try folding bikes for six weeks for free as part of the UCD Bike Library research project.

Folding bikes can be brought on trains at peak times when fully folded and covered, and are the only bicycles allowed on Luas trams and on Dublin Bus, again when folded and covered.

The university’s Bike Library programme is an offshoot of Professor Pilla’s Bike Library project, which offers free lending of different types of bicycles to pupils’ parents in participating schools and members of participating sports clubs. For now, the UCD Bike Library only includes folding bicycles.

Students and staff can apply for folding bikes online, and then the bikes can be accessed on-campus using self-service bike bunkers.

UCD said that the project is looking at the “impact of access to micro-mobility on transport emissions” and is intended to “demonstrate that bike libraries can function in a self-service format”. This follows the equipment lending services being offered at university libraries and a selection of other libraries.

Professor Pilla, who is the academic lead for the project based in the UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, said: “We are delighted that this new scheme makes bike loans available free of charge to all the students and staff in UCD. The aim of the initiative is to encourage all the members of the UCD Community to make a permanent modal shift to sustainable, active travel for their daily commutes and take an active role in achieving the climate neutrality target of Dublin city.”

The university’s Bike Library initiative is coordinated by the UCD Energy Institute in partnership with the UCD Library. UCD said that the programme is one of three ‘Sustainability Demonstrator’ research projects supported by the Higher Education Authority’s ‘performance funding’, which is aimed at “rewards outstanding initiatives in higher education institutions”.

The project team said that they are looking to develop a “framework for bike lending libraries as an open resource for other Higher Education institutions and organisations of similar size to implement.”

Martha Ní Riada, the president of the UCD Students’ Union, said: “Making cycling accessible for all students is an important part of a sustainable university, particularly at a time when many students are facing longer and more expensive commutes. We in the Students’ Union are pleased to work with the Energy Institute on this pilot Bike Library scheme.”

She added: “It’s a really promising initiative that will demonstrate how accessible cycling options can make getting to and around campus much easier for students. We are encouraging as many students as possible to rally behind and make use of it, and hope that the University will continue to support it into the future.”

Professor Tasman Crowe, UCD Vice President for Sustainability, said: “The Bike Library programme is a fantastic example of what can be done when a great idea for sustainability is put into practice through collaboration… I hope that this initiative can be picked up by other libraries and organisations around the country and beyond.”

MORE: Students and staff can apply for folding bikes online

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