FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Those wishing to bike along Forsyth County’s Greenway, but who don’t own a bicycle, may soon have another option.
The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners discussed a potential bike sharing program at its Jan. 10 meeting.
Hal Woodyard, a local small business owner and Forsyth County resident, said he’s seen numerous similar programs across the country and wants to launch it locally.
“This proposal would provide a bike share in Forsyth County for residents and guests to take advantage of the current and future Greenway, parks and safe biking locations throughout Forsyth County while promoting a healthier and greener lifestyle,” he said. “Bike share is a great way to incorporate this healthy lifestyle ‘amenity’ as well as address alternative transportation options, reduce traffic congestion and help boost the local economy.”
The county would have no liability, he said, but a request for proposal from the county’s procurement department would need to be awarded to a management company to oversee operations and finances.
Bike renters would download an app on their phones, or use a kiosk next to the bikes if they are unable to download the app, and then sign a waiver. After that, riders determine how much time they need and for how long, like a day or a month, and then pay and start riding.
There are several parks, bike paths and expanding Greenway locations throughout Forsyth
County where bikes can be used safely for both recreation and alternative transportation, Woodyard said. One bike share location will have 10 to 15 bikes and would be located at the Fowler Park Recreation Center. It is proposed to begin this summer.
The goal would be to expand the bike share locations as the parks expand and the Greenway and other bike paths connect throughout Forsyth County and surrounding counties and even Atlanta’s Belt Line, he said.
Findings from a May 2016 county parks and recreation community survey showed the interest of the public.
“The most consistent message back to the board was the residents’ high ranking of having healthy lifestyle amenities available in the county,” Woodyard said. “The three most popular outdoor activities cited in the survey were the use of the nature trails, Greenways and playgrounds. Residents ranked renovations of existing older parks and trails, expanding the Greenway system and acquiring park land for passive facilities as the most important improvements.”
Woodyard said he’s already seen support for the program from local businesses and health organizations interested in becoming founding sponsors and partners financially. Additionally, he said the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce has said it would help support the program with promotion “of the county’s many benefits of a healthy lifestyle.”