Recently released data indicates that riding on Chicago’s streets on one of the city’s Divvy bicycles is significantly safer than most people could have ever imagined. Only 18 bike riders have been involved in accidents since the June 2013 inception of the program. None of these accidents have resulted in a fatality.The data accumulated by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) notes that the information about these accidents only involve collisions that were reported to law enforcement.
Divvy was modeled after bicycle renting programs in large cities all across the United States. To date, the program has been highly successful, causing city fathers to expand the bike network by constructing additional bicycle rental stations throughout the city.Divvy bicyclists have ridden over five million miles on more than three million bicycle rides in the last 2.5 years. For many skeptics, the limited amount of injuries suffered by Divvy riders is surprising, especially because nearly anyone can rent a bicycle and operate it without using a helmet. In fact, the rental does not include any protective equipment.
Bicycles rented through the Divvy program are available for rent to Chicago residents and visitors who are 16 years and older. The program operators are responsible for maintaining hundreds of stations that are strategically located all across the Chicago Metropolitan area. Bicycles can be rented 24 hours every day, seven days a week at a cost-effective price involving either an annual membership or a 24-hour daily pass. The distance traveled by members averages 1.6 miles per trip, compared to 1.8 miles per trip traveled by individuals holding a daily pass.
Riding the Network
The city of Chicago provides an expansive bicycle network that includes protected buffers, barriers, bike trails and bike lanes totaling hundreds of miles. The riding network has been highly popular with tourists visiting during the summer months who take trips down Lake Michigan shorefront properties along Lakefront Trail. The trail stretches through the Chicago northern neighborhoods, along the Navy Pier, into downtown and out through The Loop.
Renting a Bicycle
Divvy bicycles are constructed with durable materials and are designed to withstand heavy wear and tear and limited abuse. The bicycles offer three speeds, providing ample flexibility for managing mostly flat terrain throughout the metropolitan area. Bicycle seats allow for some adjustment to ensure the rider is seated comfortably. Its overall construction and design places the rider in a more upright position.
The first 30 minutes of travel time is free to all bike pass holders and annual members. Rides lasting longer than the allotted time will incur user fees. Any Divvy bicycle that has been improperly docked or not returned to the station is considered to be stolen, which will incur a penalty fee ranging up to $1200 along with associated administration fees and penalties that are charged to the customer’s debit or credit card.
The Divvy Renting Stations
The bike renting stations are constructed with variable docking ports and a kiosk where potential customers can purchase bike passes with a simple touch on the screen. In addition, bicyclists are provided a map of the program’s service area along with extensive details of the surrounding neighborhoods that show bike lane locations and surrounding Divvy stations.
Inherent Safety Problems
There are specific inherent problems that will likely never be overcome, simply because there are many new riders renting bikes to travel Chicago’s streets every day. Even though the divvy program instructs every cycle is to walk their bicycle went on a sidewalk, many tourists and residents are too nervous about only riding the bicycle in the street. This is often an inherent problem because of the animosity of truck drivers and passenger vehicle motorists against bicyclists who are sharing the roadway.
Program operators suggest acclimating to the bicycle before traveling busy roadways. This step is important because the cyclist does not have an airbag system or large metal frame to provide protection in the event of a collision. In fact, safety goes a long way to minimize the potential of being involved in an accident with injuries or death. This requires signaling turns, stopping at all red lights and obeying all traffic laws, just like all other moving vehicles traveling on Chicago’s roadways.