Bentonville nonprofit BikeNWA recently announced it has joined a nationwide program that matches those with a bicycle to donate to someone who needs one.
Bike Match is a program started by New York-based nonprofit Transportation Alternatives.
Paxton Roberts, executive director for BikeNWA, said for years it has received inquiries from people needing bicycles who couldn’t afford one. Also, he said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected public transportation as buses have reduced capacity and people have been reluctant to ride because of the enclosed spaces.
“Now more than ever, having a means of transportation can have a huge impact on it being possible for workers to travel to essential jobs, doctor’s appointments or even the grocery store,” Roberts said. “Bikes are an important part of increasing transportation equity. As much progress has been made in Northwest Arkansas toward building out the bicycle and pedestrian network, we have a long way to go to increasing the diversity of users.”
Since the program was launched, Roberts said bicycle demand has exceeded supply.
“The goal is to raise awareness of the program over the next year and encourage people who have bikes they are not using, or are looking to buy a new bike, to donate one if they can,” he said.
Following are the steps to take for the peer-to-peer matching program: Donors or those needing a bicycle complete an online form at bikenwa.org/bikematchnwa. Donors will receive an email from BikeNWA if a match is found. Donors and recipients will coordinate when the bicycles are given.
Roberts said the program will be focused on Northwest Arkansas, but if it has the available bicycles, they could be given to those just outside the area, too. Anya Bruhin, education programs manager, runs the area Bike Match program.
Groups or organizations that need a fleet of bicycles or have ones to donate should contact Pedal-It-Forward NWA, according to a news release. Each year, it has given thousands of bicycles to groups and organizations across the region.