Bike sharing. A delusional ideal from the last decade. The idea that any American urban downtown could be turned into Amsterdam if people were supplied with a bike rental system. Cars would disappear and we would all live in the endless 15-minute city, biking to cafes before typing up a novel on the latest iPad.
Reality caught up a while back with bike sharing, soon displaced by the ubiquitous electric scooters, themselves displaced by the fact that neither bike sharing not scooter rentals ever made any sense.
But there’s one demographic that’s finding a use for Chicago’s Divvy system.
Police said a group of two to four people threatens their victims before steals their belongings, all while riding Divvy bikes, in most cases.
In one case, they even stole a victim’s car.
“I just think it’s nuts, like, the whole idea. They just get on these bikes and go away,” said Felicia Davis, who works downtown.
Police are now searching for the armed group steering into trouble in the bike lanes.
“Hopefully they stop, or if they are listening, then please stop. There are other ways to make money,” Brandon Wong said.
It’s just like Paris!
The much-heralded bicycle rental scheme in Paris seems to be a resounding success.
Launched in July, the “Velib” bikes were part of the Paris mayor’s idea of making the city more ecologically friendly and reducing traffic. Just two months on, the self-service bicycles have clocked some 3.7 million rides and seem to be changing the way people get around the city.
No wonder Chicago’s mayor Richard Daley dropped this week to go for a spin. Daley says he thinks the bikes could work in Chicago.
And they have. Take this story from 2021.
A man on his bike was riding through a busy intersection right downtown this week, when he was suddenly surrounded, pushed, and then pulled off the bicycle.
The thief and his crew were gone in seconds. And on Thursday night, neighbors told CBS 2’s Jermont Terry it is a growing a problem in the heart of the Loop, and it is only getting worse.
It was a random attack on Wednesday night at Madison Street and Wabash Avenue. The Divvy bikes you see around town helped the crew get away.
The assault involved up to seven people. The assailants were all on Divvy bikes, essentially waiting for someone to target.
Finally someone has figured out how to use bike sharing for something.