Fishers’ bike-share program to start with training wheels

Fishers expects to roll out a pilot bike-sharing program this month in its downtown Nickel Plate District.

But unlike the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare service, which rents bicycles at 25 stations along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the suburban program is starting small—and free.

The initiative is a partnership among the town’s Parks & Recreation and Community Development departments, which came up with $1,800 to buy six durable, single-speed bikes, and not-for-profit Launch Fishers, which lined up sponsors and will administer the program.

Supporters include Fishers-based LoKe Bicycles, the Fritz in Fishers used-car lot and Friaco’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina.

Riders will be able to check out bicycles at the entrepreneurial-focused coworking space, located on the ground floor of the Hamilton East Public Library. Organizers there are working on a web-based reservation system that will allow borrowers to book bikes and sign liability waivers online.

Buying helmets also is on the to-do list.

Launch members and town staff plan to test the program and work out the kinks before making the service available to the public this fall, said town spokeswoman Autumn Gasior.

“The goal is to promote biking and healthy living in the Nickel Plate District, and provide users with alternative transportation for short trips around the downtown area,” she wrote in an email.

The bright-yellow Jamis Taxi Cruisers are made for bike-share programs, with sturdy comfort seats and handlebars, said Parks Director Tony Elliot. Other colors were available, but he said yellow seemed fitting given the “Taxi” moniker. (Indianapolis’ 250 shared bicycles also are yellow.)

Elliot said the town has been discussing the possibility of a bike-share program for some time, but the pieces just came together recently.

“We’ll see how successful it is and then maybe look to expand,” he said.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. launched its bike-share program in late April, and last month said riders took nearly 30,000 trips during the first eight weeks.

That service charges $8 for a 24-hour pass and $80 for an annual membership. Members and pass-holders can take unlimited 30-minute trips on the bikes, but longer trips incur additional fees.

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