Divvy: Chicago’s Public Bike Program Divides and Shares

9 thoughts on “Divvy: Chicago’s Public Bike Program Divides and Shares”

  1. Not to harp on the inequity of Chicago as it has always been there. But seeing as how there are no stations south of 63rd Street or west of Central Park Avenue. Altogether, black West Side neighborhoods like North Lawndale, East and West Garfield Park, Austin, and West Humboldt Park will have just two of the 400 planned bike-sharing stations. I can’t help but to cry foul. Rahm is blatantly “building a new Chicago” and rather than building a new, less divisive Chicago, it seems like business as usual but worse.

    45M USD private roadway for politicians and conventioneers to get from McCormick to Columbus and Wacker

    50M USD private arena for NCAA basketball

    65M USD for Bike share program (Which wasn’t the lowest bid from their RFP) That’s $9,600 per bike.

    But I am getting letters about how CPS budget short fall has not only caused layoffs (as usual) and can’t afford textbooks (as usual) but now they’re asking for parents to bring TOILET PAPER as they don’t have budget for it??!?!?! A world class city like Chicago?! Where is the protest, the news, the unrest? No one cares. The agenda is obvious, and disgusting. I am an “old Chicagoan” and I’m leaving.

    Besides, any real Chicagoan has their own bike and wouldn’t be caught dead on a Divvy.

    1. Ah I just looked and it makes sense, it isn’t a coincidence that Gabe Klein, Chicago’s Commissioner of Transportation, was a consultant for Alta before being appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011. Alta being the company with the inefficient, expensive bid ( i.e., Divvy) Somethings never change.

      1. I don’t know if their bid was the most expensive or the least, but — can’t they make the vetting for these public works project transparent? It just looks awful and seems shady on its face. UGH.

    2. Moshin,

      Thank you for your thorough and knowledge-dropping comment. I share your feelings. And the money doesn’t lie. A public bike share should be public — as in, FOR EVERYONE. I’d wish something like bikes can bring us together instead of apart. I hope someone from Divvy will read this and would comment publicly about your/our concern. There’s definitely room for improvement. That would be the diplomatic way to say it.

      About the schools, it is awful. Any kid in this city should get a decent education. I know this is not the case for many. This has to be priority one, in word and in deed. What can we do, what kind of organizing is being led and by who?


    3. The City of Chicago is a different entity from CPS, and is also different from the CTA and the Chicago Park District. Each entity has their own budget, their own funding, their own federal grants. And the thing about federal grant money is that the grant stipulates how that money can be spent. Taking federal money for roads and spending it on teachers, while admirable (and impossible based on what I said about different entities), results in forfeiture of the funds and getting kicked out of the grant program, resulting in even less money.

      1. Thanks for the comment, RG. Good to learn about current systems and be reminded of how they work. I feel like a child for still wanting to ask why things are this way for our kids. But, why? (I don’t expect you to answer that, RG — just tossing it out there.)

  2. you found your helmet ?!

    this is a great write-up! was it a good quality bike ? and what happens when they are broken ? you did mention that there is a damage button, but do you know what actually happens?

    in general, i’m all for biking and bike-sharing. in reality, i stay as far away as i can from people riding these bikes when i’m on my own b/c they are not very city biking savvy . . . it’s great that it’s available, though, and perhaps as they expand beyond downtown/the loop/more touristy areas, there will be less tourists and perhaps more competent bikers . . . but maybe not.

    if you look at the map for where they expect to have divvy locations, there are going to be a lot north of montrose. expectedly, they won’t have as many on the south and west sides (though there are some).

    i think the LED lights are pretty bright. i usually notice them on when i’m riding my bike during daylight hours, so if that’s the case, they’re probably definitely visible at night. that said, i don’t know how much light they’d provide, however, i haven’t come across too many places in chicago that aren’t lit enough to see. they do exist, but you can definitely see someone else on those bikes . . .

    and yeah, that helmet thing. i guess a big concern i have about that is, especially for tourists, who’s just going to randomly have a bike helmet if you don’t have a bike? ESPECIALLY if you’re travelling? def an issue . . . and these non-city-biking folks are definitely the ones who need helmets (well, everyone does, but you know what I mean . . . )

    1. Jenny,

      Thank you for the comment & compliment.

      I did not find the helmet. I plunked down some cash for a new one. Which is spiffy and has detachable/rechargeable lights. 🙂

      The bikes are great. They are brand-new, of course, and have not been through a Winter. I don’t know if Divvy is planning on keeping the bikes out past November.

      When the bike is damaged and still docked on the station, press that wrench button. One of those blue Divvy vans comes and fixes/picks them up.

      Should you crash on a bike, here’s what you should do, according to their FAQ:

      Call 911 immediately. You should also call the police precinct in which the crash took place and file a report with an officer. This will help assure all important information is documented.

      Within 24 hours of the incident, you must notify us of the facts of the crash by calling and speaking with a Customer Service Representative at 1-855-55-DIVVY (553-4889). We will provide you with a Divvy Crash Report to fill out. Remember, The bike remains your responsibility until it has been properly locked at a dock, or handed over to a Divvy representative.

      I hear what you’re saying about staying clear of new riders. Most of my riding has been in the neighborhoods… and I haven’t observed out and out stupid Divvy bikers. I hope this will get more riders to be safe and not do dumb things that will endanger themselves or motorists. And hopefully more motorists will try Divvy and be more sympathetic to sharing the road with bikers, any bikers. I know that’s idealistic.

      Will have to try the lights at night. I just don’t trust them, they seem very small. Parts of the lakefront are awesome to bike at night — as you very well know — but I don’t want to be out there in the dark. Especially for those unfamiliar with the curves, they may just bike right into the water! 😛 Will report back.

      Yes, HELMETS !!!


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