Cycling culture in downtown Dayton is about to burn rubber with the roll out of the Yellow Bike program.
This free bike sharing program is the brainchild of Jeff Sorrell, vice president and executive director of the Life Enrichment Center, a faith-based nonprofit organization serving Dayton. The center’s new Yellow Bike program will provide brightly painted yellow bikes available free of charge for anyone to ride between downtown destinations. People simply grab a yellow bike, ride it to their destination and park it in a bike rack for the next person to use.
“The Yellow Bike program provides a free means of transportation and gives anyone access to bicycles to use at any time,” Sorrell said. “This program also promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourges people to get outside and be active.”
The Yellow Bike program will be officially launched during the Friday, May 13, Urban Nights, held from 5 to 10 p.m. throughout downtown. Riders can pick up one of 50 yellow bikes at Courthouse Square or whereever they see one parked throughout downtown. The Life Enrichment Center is seeking donations of helmets in all sizes, which can be dropped off at Courthouse Square during Urban Nights or at the center, 425 N. Findlay St.
The Yellow Bike program is part of a larger effort to enhance cycling culture in the City of Dayton, the only Ohio city to be selected as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists in its spring 2010 rankings. Dayton was awarded a bronze-level status for its efforts to help make the city more bicycle and pedestrian friendly through such efforts as the addition of bike lanes to downtown streets and the opening of the bike hub at RiverScape MetroPark.
“Enhancing downtown Dayton as a bike-friendly city is about more than recreation ― it’s about regional economic development,” said Dr. Michael Ervin, co-chair of the Downtown Dayton Partnership and the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan. “That’s because cities where it’s easy to have the kind of active lifestyle that’s integral to cycling culture are more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses. Strategies that make it even more convenient to have an active lifestyle downtown, such as the Yellow Bike program, increase urban vibrancy, improve quality of life and, in the long term, attract new jobs and investment.”
The Yellow Bike program also is supported by the City of Dayton’s Bike/Walk Committee, which is overseeing the work of the City of Dayton 2025 Bicycle Action Plan. The City is seeking public input on the plan through this summer.
“A simple, accessible, inexpensive and environmentally friendly form of transportation, the bicycle continues to be a pivotal part of the City of Dayton’s vision for an active citizenry, vibrant economy and engaging street life,” said Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley. “Individuals and businesses are choosing to locate in areas where alternative transportation options are both abundant and convenient. The Yellow Bike program does much to help achieve this.”
The Yellow Bike program is one of several at the Life Enrichment Center’s new Bike Shoppe, renovated by volunteers and made possible by a grant from the UPS Foundation and private donations. The yellow bikes are refurbished by Life Enrichment Center clients, teaching them new skills while providing a service to the community.
To help keep the bikes in the downtown area, the Life Enrichment Center has worked with the Dayton Police Department, scrap yards and pawn shops. Anyone who finds a yellow bike that needs repaired or is outside the downtown area is asked to call the Bike Shoppe at 937-252-7780 so it can be picked up, returned to the center, repaired if necessary and put back into circulation. All the yellow bikes also will have stickers with the center’s phone number. Riders are reminded to always wear a helmet and obey traffic laws.