CHICAGO (CBS) – A new kind of bike sharing program is coming to Chicago, reaching areas of the city that have been blocked from bike-sharing services like the Divvy bikes.
As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, that may come at a price.
Thousands of people in Chicago use the Divvy bike rentals, where people take a bike, use it, and return it at docking stations around the city. A new bike share program is launching in Chicago, where bike riders can use a bike, but not have to return it at a docking station. The program allows users to pick up a bike and leave it anywhere.
Where some people have left the bikes in other cities has caused some problems.
There are currently no biking systems in place in the far southwest areas of Chicago, including the 19th ward.
“Bike sharing is in all the major cities and it’s not in my neighborhood and I want it,” said Alderman Matt O’Shea of the 19th Ward.
Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea helped the city become familiar with dockless biking services like Limebike, which will debut in his ward in a pilot program tomorrow.
An app helps users locate a bike, scan a bar code, and unlock the bike. When users are done, they electronically relock it and leave it anywhere for the next user.
“We are here to help build and change bike share culture, creating more ridership,” said Jessie Lucci from Limebike.
In other cities, there have been risks. Pranksters have thrown bikes into trees, into the path of oncoming trains, and left them haphazardly around town.
“There is a real concern. We don’t want to see bicycles in the public way, tipped over on their side,” said O’Shea.
Chicago will require the dockless bike shares to have a “lock to mechanism” by mid-summer, which will allow users to fasten bikes to fixed objects like sign posts or racks. This new program comes as the city of Chicago gears up for bike sharing expansion.