Did You Know?

Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

How will you use “Divvy,” Chicago’s new bike-sharing system?

We learned today that “Divvy” is the brand name for Chicago’s new bike-sharing program. I am warming up to the name after seeing how cool it looks on the Chicago Blue bikes, with sharrow arrows representing the “Vs” in Divvy (see photo). /

This is a big deal for Chicago that will change how people get around, and could easily double cycling in Chicago in about a year.

It’s perfect for trips under a few miles that are too short to wait for a bus and a bit too far to walk. Many people will be thrilled to know that it will be much cheaper than a taxi.

Tens of thousands of Chicagoans will be able to use it to get from transit stations to their jobs, to get to their next meeting, grab lunch and run errands. In other cities with bike sharing, the lion’s share of users are new cyclists! That’s great news for growing cycling in Chicago.

Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC has grown to 24,000 annual members with nearly 11,000 trips per day and 1,800 bikes. I used that system to get to the nation’s capitol to lobby for bike and pedestrian funding, and to check out some of the innovative new bike lanes in DC. It was easy to use, with plenty of bike docking stations to choose from and kiosks that show you where stations are located. The bikes are sturdy with chain guards, fenders, lights and a bell. No mess, no fuss, and you don’t have to worry about locking the bikes. Just return them to any docking station – sort of like Red Box for bikes.

Divvy will be very similar to DC’s system, but with more bikes – 3,000 by the end of the summer and another 1,000 next year. We’ll let you know as soon as Divvy memberships are available – sometime next month most likely, and Divvy bikes should be in service during Bike to Work Week (June 10 – 16).

So how will you use Divvy? I’ll “Divvy” from the Ogilvie train station to the Active Trans office in River North. I’ll Divvy from our office to the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meetings at city hall!

Check out a Chicago Tribune article and an Active Trans news release for more information about Divvy.