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Pedals of Progress: BikeLNK’s Journey in Lincoln

Pedaling its way into the heartbeat of downtown Lincoln, BikeLNK has woven itself into the fabric of downtown Lincoln, offering not just bikes but a dynamic rhythm to the city's daily life. In just over five years, this bike share network has facilitated over 200,000 trips, covering a remarkable 350,000 miles with 130 bikes stationed across 21 locations in and around downtown.

BikeLNK's Five-Year Ride  Bike share systems are categorized as either docked or dockless. BikeLNK operates as a docked system, providing users with a seamless experience to check out and return bikes at any of its 21 kiosks or stations. The docked system enhances autonomy and self-sustainability, eliminating the need for bicycle collection and redistribution. Each BikeLNK station, featuring an average of around 10 docks, imposes a one-hour return limit to prevent overage charges on the rider's account. This approach, combined with the docked system, effectively prevents theft and vandalism while optimizing the efficiency of invested funds.

Striving for Sustainable Access  BikeLNK actively seeks inspiration and guidance from successful models nationwide, aspiring to expand access efficiently, sustainably, and equitably for more Lincolnites. In the ever-growing landscape of bike share stations nationwide, questions naturally arise about the key elements defining a successful system and ensuring its enduring success. Although there are currently no plans for system expansion, BikeLNK remains committed to understanding the intricacies of a thriving bike share network, laying the foundation for exciting future possibilities.

Acknowledging the overall benefits of the system, BikeLNK places a strong emphasis on diversifying station placement to better meet user needs. A recent survey conducted by the BikeLNK team revealed the top three uses of the system. These were:

  • Social activities like dining or shopping;
  • Running errands and attending appointments; and
  • Engaging in exercise and recreation.

The current concentration of stations in downtown Lincoln properly aligns with user preferences, as individuals utilize BikeLNK to access the city's vibrant restaurants, bars, and entertainment.

Envisioning a Future Toward New Horizons  While system availability is currently centered around downtown, with few stations near residential areas, BikeLNK is actively exploring opportunities for future expansion. This is in response to user feedback and the growing demand for accessible and convenient biking options. On weekdays, BikeLNK experiences peak around noon and 5 or 6 p.m., showcasing the popularity of rides during lunch hours or for dinner outings.

BikeLNK’s recent survey revealed that respondents expressed a desire to ride BikeLNK more frequently if stations were closer to their destinations, and safety on city streets also played a significant role in their decision-making. Drawing insights from these findings, a couple of key considerations emerge to shape the placement of future stations and the expansion of the BikeLNK network:

  1. Introducing stations farther from the downtown center, particularly near densely populated residential areas, and
  2. Ensuring the presence of bicycle infrastructure nearby to cater to riders with varying skill levels

Although there are no current plans for BikeLNK system expansion, the survey feedback will prove invaluable when and if future station placements are under consideration. There is an additional and promising option for placing a new bike station that could significantly boost patronage, particularly targeting non-commuters.

Utilizing Lincoln’s Beautiful Parks and Trails  Lincoln boasts several large parks—Pioneers Park, Holmes Lake, Wilderness Park—all offering ample space for a leisurely afternoon of biking along trails and roads. Many visitors traditionally drive to these parks, intending to spend time at the recreation center before departing in the same mode they arrived. Introducing a bike share station at one or more of these locations would provide an additional recreational option for park visitors. They could easily undock a bike, use it for about an hour, and then redock it at the same station. By expanding the system in this manner, BikeLNK would align with its current strength of providing recreational and exercise opportunities, while also complementing Lincoln's extensive park and trail system.

Onward and Upward: BikeLNK's Positive Pedals in 2023  BikeLNK has made significant progress in its relatively brief existence, working with local partners and fellow nonprofits to encourage bike usage and healthy lifestyles across the city. As 2023 concludes, trip counts remain robust, with over 34,000 rider trips and nearly 74,000 miles ridden. As time progresses, more opportunities are emerging for BikeLNK. So, regardless of your reason for riding with BikeLNK, keep getting out there! Every ride contributes to affordable and sustainable transportation, recreation, and healthy living for all.

For more information, visit the BikeLNK website, or contact city bike manager, Hunter Arias.