Chicago is set to launch a bike-share program throughout the city that could have a significant impact on transportation downtown. Originally planned to be launched last summer, the initial stages promise 75 solar-powered stations in downtown and River North. Within a year, the program is scheduled to expand across the city with a total of 400 docking stations and about 4,000 bicycles, serving an area roughly between 63rd Street and Devon Avenue, to Lake Michigan to California Avenue.Dubbed the Divvy program, the bikes will be available to users for either a $75 annual membership or a $7 daily pass. The program is initially being federally-funded but it is expected to pay for itself over time. The bicycles are a heavy-duty model designed for all types of adult users and will be painted Chicago blue, the same color blue as is on the City of Chicago flag. The bikes can be checked out and returned to any other station in the city and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The initial launch of the program will have several stations near major transportation hubs, including Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, and the downtown CTA train stations. The city believes the bicycles will provide another source of transportation for residents and tourists that is healthier and more cost-effective than driving, taxis, and even some public transportation.
Users will not be provided with bicycle locks or helmets through the program. The idea is to lock the bicycle to a station each time it is not in use, making locks unnecessary. The use of helmets will be encouraged by the city but not provided as keeping track of the helmets and sanitizing them between users has been deemed not cost effective.
Another attention-grabbing aspect of this new program is the replacement cost: lose a bicycle and you could be charged $1,200 to have it replaced. Riders may also be charged for damage done to a bike while they are using it.
Bicycling is an excellent means of transportation as well as a good source of exercise and a way to have fun in nice weather. However as bicycle lawyers, we regularly see collisions that result in significant injuries to our clients. The sheer mass and size of a car when compared to the small size and weight of a bicycle means that in a collision, the bicycle almost always sustains more damage, and the bicyclist greater injuries, than the driver of a car.
Chicago is taking strides to make riding safer for bicyclists both downtown and throughout the city. Most notably, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has advocated for more designated bicycle lanes or specified areas for bicyclists to ride separate from motorized vehicles. The belief is that the designated lanes make for safer travel for both bicyclists and motorists in some areas, reducing collisions and reducing injuries and deaths.
Bicycling should be a fun pastime or a safe means of transportation, but unfortunately motorists are too often negligent around riders, turning the experience from one of pleasure to one of pain. Bicyclists have the right to ride Chicago roads and are increasingly being encouraged to do so. If you have been injured while riding a bicycle or if a loved one has been injured or killed on a bike, please call the Illinois bike accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today, toll free, at (855) LAW-CHICAGO. We are standing by to give you a free consultation regarding your rights and we have a lawyer available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Chicago ready to roll out bike-sharing, by Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune, published April 25, 2013.
Divvy Bikes Web Site, as of April 25, 2013.
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