October 28, 2019
South Burnett Regional Council will give 16 mountain bikes away for free to any community group that wants to start a bicycle hire service in the region.
The bicycles will also come with a copy of a report outlining the results of Council’s six-week trial of the concept, which staff described as “underwhelming”.
At last week’s Council meeting, Councillors heard a six-week trial of free bicycle hire had been run from mid-May to the end of June this year, using bikes purchased with a grant for another community health program.
Five bikes had been available for hire from both the Kingaroy and Wondai Visitor Information Centres (VICs), and another five from the Lake Boondooma Tourist Park.
The bikes were hired on condition hirers provided ID before using the bikes, and returned the bikes at the end of the day.
Over the six-week trial period, 28 bike hires occurred – 16 at the Kingaroy VIC, and rest at Wondai’s VIC.
No bikes were hired at Lake Boondooma.
The report noted the trial had been beset by a number of problems.
These included poor display of the bikes, which had been stored behind Kingaroy’s VIC, inside Wondai’s VIC, and out of public view at Lake Boondooma; and a poor reaction to the idea by some VIC volunteers, who felt bike hire was outside the scope of their roles.
Other problems included the bikes not being provided with pumps or tool kits to adjust seats and carry out other routine adjustments; no advice being provided to hirers about what to do in an emergency; the requirement to return a bike to the point of hire rather than another location; and the lack of a booking system, which led to several double-bookings.
The report noted that most comments made by people using the bike hire service were very positive, but also noted the trial had disclosed a number of issues that hadn’t been thought about.
These included being able to offer one-way hires (eg. Kingaroy to Wondai or vice-versa); procedures to assist riders who broke down during a hire (eg. getting a flat tyre); after-hours returns; and related matters.
The trial was jointly run by Council’s Economic Development and Natural Resources departments.
Community groups interested in taking up the offer should contact these departments.