A new plan for riding bikes in Forsyth County parks is gaining traction.
Forsyth County commissioners voted 4-0, with District 1 Commissioner Pete Amos absent, at a recent work session to move forward with a bike share program after hearing a presentation from county resident Hal Woodyard.
“This is a relatively common program that is sweeping the United States,” Parks and Recreation Director Jim Pryor said.
Woodyard said riders would be charged for the amount of time of the bike rental and that the plan would likely begin at Fowler Park, where riders could take the bikes on the Big Creek Greenway.
“Ultimately, we’re thinking that an expandable 10-15 bike share location would start at the Fowler Park rec center,” he said. “Then the goal would be to expand the bike share locations as the parks expand through Forsyth County, as well as the greenway expansion.”
The program will not be run by Forsyth County – a private business will be responsible for the bikes.
“It’s more of a business concept, and it’s a relatively simple business model, but … I don’t want to be in the bike business, but I do think it’s a great concept for the greenway,” Pryor said.
As proposed, the bike share would only be open to adults and would cost riders $5-$8, and memberships with lower prices for multiple uses were discussed.
The bikes would be rented from a kiosk using cell phones, meaning there would be no cash or attendant.
“You download an app; it takes about three seconds to download the app, literally,” Woodyard said. “You would go and you would have to fill out and sign an electronic waiver.”
Additionally, the plan would include bike maintenance stations, with tire pumps and tools repairing chains and other common fixes.
Riders will need to go back to the original site to return the bike, though expansion could change that.
“It would be a rental type operation where you rent the bike and go back,” Woodyard said. “Other bike shares actually have other locations where you would ride your bike and go to different places.”
The parks department recently adopted a new 10-year master plan, and respondents ranked having healthy amenities high on their favorite things about parks – the three most popular amenities were nature trails, the greenway and playgrounds.
“I think the bike share aligns perfectly with that,” Woodyard said. “I believe that the bike share is a great way to incorporate this healthy lifestyle amenity. It potentially can reduce traffic congestion, which I know we would all be pleased with. It promotes a greener way of life and will help boost the local economy in a couple different ways.”