Purple Bike Program terminated due to cost, liability


The TCU Capital Planning Committee decided to eliminate the Purple Bike Program in January 2011.

The Purple Bike Program was created over ten years ago by sociology instructor Keith Whitworth. This free program allowed students to use a bike owned by the university to go between classes and residence halls. In addition to a bike, students received a helmet and combination lock.

Whitworth did not find out the program was suspended indefinitely until almost a year and a half after the Capital Planning Committee reached their decision, he said.  

He believed that the program would be receiving space to maintain and store bikes in the University Recreation Center after Lowe Hall finished its renovations. Whitworth said he had a decent volunteer base to maintain the program.  

However, Leo Munson, the associate provost for academic support, said there was more reasoning behind why the program was suspended.  

The program was primarily funded through internal and external grants, as well as donations. Whitworth said overall the program cost about $1,000 a year to maintain 70 bikes.

Munson said that the program initially received grants from the university and the Vision in Action committee (which has since been renamed) hoped that the program would be able to get enough grants from the outside to be self-sufficient. Unfortunately, that did not become a reality.

Other problems included that there was not the storage and space to repair the bikes to maintain them, and question of support from the all volunteer repair force.

There was also the question of liability. 
Whitworth said there was a student who hit a car after the chain broke on his bike. While the student suffered no injuries, it was apparent that not all of the bikes were as well maintained as they needed to be.

Victoria Igbojionu, a senior strategic communication major, said that if the program was still around, she would have taken advantage of the program. 

While she did not know anyone who used it, she knew about it. She also said she would see announcements in the TCU Announce emails that students receive biweekly for volunteers to maintain the bikes.

After the program's termination, Munson contacted John Singleton, director of International Student Services, to sell the bikes, as Singleton works with a program that sells bikes to refugees.  

The bikes are fixed and then sold to international students, Munson said.

Singleton said the bikes are $25, and there are already 18 students who have signed up to buy a bike.