Lincoln’s newest eco-makeover has arrived and it seeks to transform how Lincolnites travel. Last week, Bike LNK unveiled over 100 new bikes at 19 locations scattered throughout downtown Lincoln and City and East campuses. This service offers customers the ability to pick up a bike at one location, use it for their day-to-day activities and errands and return it to any convenient location.
The concept is a brilliant insight into how citizens can reduce their ecological footprint without sacrificing much of the convenience cars and other forms of travel offer. Additionally, bike-sharing services expand environmentally friendly travel into populations that don’t already have bikes without significant down payments.
Bike LNK establishes a firm footing for eco-friendly travel in downtown Lincoln. However, it is only the first step in reshaping Lincoln’s infrastructure. As the city propels itself further into the 21st century, its core structure will evolve to cater to an environmentally progressive population.
Although the program is largely localized in downtown Lincoln and University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campuses, broader patterns demonstrating an increase in biking nationwide suggest Bike LNK may have an opportunity to expand beyond Lincoln’s hub.
The benefits of biking have been widely explored over the past decade. In one study, British researchers found that biking can save time on daily commutes, promote healthy psychology and ease congestion in busy city centers.
In addition to facilitating a healthy lifestyle, biking has significant benefits for the environment. Cycling for about 6 miles a day saves over 3,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions in just one year. Pollution emitted in traffic accounts for millions of tons of greenhouse gases each year and is a major underpinning of smog in large cities.
Furthermore, biking reduces the need for ever-expanding networks of metropolitan roads paved through nature. Taken as a whole, biking reduces man's dependence on automobiles and the environmental degradations associated with driving. Biking can also free riders from the pressure of parking in congested downtown areas.
In recent years, Lincoln has made significant strides in building up its sustainable image. In 2016, UNL was awarded a silver rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. This recognition praised Lincoln’s incorporation of renewable energies into campus transportation and infrastructure as well as environmentally-conscious curriculum.
Bike-sharing, recycling, composting and ethically sourcing food are all small steps many individuals take that, as a whole, can have a meaningful impact. It’s becoming increasingly clear that environmental sustainability lies at the core of the millennial ethos.
The current trend of environmental activism bears many of the hallmarks of modern society, such as social media campaigns like Think.Eat.Save. and a focus on advanced renewable technology. Increased interconnectivity and technological adaptability have expanded individuals’ abilities to accommodate environmental concerns.
While the momentum is in favor of environmental protectionism, key obstacles still exist in the pursuit of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Modern infrastructure has yet to fully accommodate electric cars, wind energy has yet to reach its full potential across the Midwest and efforts to curb pollution have stalled at the federal level.
As for Bike LNK, it may face obstacles in implementing its vision of an oil-free community. In their current state, Lincoln’s bike lanes provide woeful coverage over most of the downtown area. Commuting from the UNL campus to some of downtown Lincoln’s further reaches often involves navigating treacherously narrow pedestrian sidewalks and bracing over uneven roads.
In spite of some obstacles to environmentally conscious commuting, Bike LNK’s organized introduction into Lincoln signals a growing trend in environmental consciousness. Many of Lincoln’s younger inhabitants are keenly aware that the problems they cultivate on the planet they currently occupy will linger around for the rest of their lifetimes.
More than just a bike-sharing organization, Bike LNK represents another fundamental step in rejecting common convenience, instead opting for sustainable commitment.