- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) - The city of Sault Ste. Marie and Lake Superior State University have launched a new initiative to increase bicycle traffic in the downtown area.

The Sault Cruiser Bikes initiative involves 10 bikes donated to the university by the city’s police department, said city commission member Jay Gage, who’s also a special assistant to Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger. The bikes are painted blue and gold, the school’s colors, and can be rented for free by students and residents over the age of 18.

The program will be cost-effective and likely won’t cost the city more than $300, Gage told The Evening News of Sault Ste. Marie (http://bit.ly/1df93aR ).

“I don’t think anybody else has done something like this,” he said. “I’ve seen other bike programs in the country, but nobody’s worked between (municipality) and university to do something as unique as this for so cheap.”

University officials are interested in acquiring more donated bikes for the initiative and are hoping to eventually add baskets to the bikes, according to Gage.

The Sault Cruiser Bikes initiative is expected to strengthen relations between Sault Ste. Marie and Lake Superior State University, he said.

“It brings LSSU right downtown,” Gage said. “It encourages an active lifestyle, makes downtown more vibrant, all for a fraction of the cost.”

A kickoff event for the initiative was held Monday afternoon at the school’s Regional Outdoor Center.

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Information from: The Evening News, http://www.sooeveningnews.com

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