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Loyola’s bike share sees competition in future

Photo by: Opacity/creative commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jacklyn Webb

Chicago’s goal to be a more bike-friendly city seems to be working as Divvy gains support throughout the city and with students at Loyola University. For $7 you can pick up a bike and ride anywhere (under 30 minutes).  But soon Loyola students will have two systems to use, depending on the circumstance.

Loyola students already had a bike system of their own at the university called Chain Links. The organization is all student-run and not-for-profit so they are able to provide daily rentals for $15 a day, whereas at Navy Pier the lowest rental is $15 an hour. They were ahead of the curve and started two years ago.

“In the city it’s a great way to get around, it can be just as fast as the CTA or faster especially if you’re trying to get west of here,” said Ryan Young, 20, a student volunteer at Loyola’s Chain Links. “They are super practical.”

Over the summer months, Divvy bikes didn’t seem to hurt Chain Links’ business when the system was first introduced.

“As far as our business goes, we haven’t seen a difference, and I think a couple reasons for that are that there aren’t Divvy bikes this far north and it’s just a completely different kind of rental,” Young said.

But in the near future, Divvy plans to open up stations in the Rogers Park area, which would make bike riding that much more available to Loyola students.  The Divvy Bike website has Rogers Park stations coming soon at Sheridan and Loyola Avenue, Winthrop and Devon Avenue, Broadway and Granville Avenue, Glenwood and Granville Ave and more.  Loyola University and some of its residence halls are located in the center of these locations.

The bikes at Chain Links are available for 24 hours or for the entire year and it is for the renter to do what they want with it.  So for students on campus and for locals in the Rogers Park area, it is more convenient and cost-effective to rent and even get bike repairs done at Chain Links.

A Loyola student, Jackie Gorman, 20, rides her bike more than ever this semester and said she sees a huge increase of riders throughout her neighborhood. Her entire apartment building, which is three levels all students at Loyola, rides their bikes to class.

“I live in Boston and that’s one of the largest problems we have,” Gorman said. “We have something similar to the Divvy bike system, it’s called Hubway, but there are a lot more bike accidents because drivers aren’t used to sharing the roads with bikes or they just don’t have a sectioned off space on the street itself. Chicago has these bike lanes that are a lot more accessible for commuters.”

Critical Mass is an event where bicyclists get together the last Friday of every month to ride around and raise awareness about bike riding in the city.  In 2011, the state made a new license plate available to drivers. The license plate reads, “Share the Road” along with the text, “Same Rights, Same Rules.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a plan to make bicycling an integral part of daily life in the City of Chicago. Currently, the State of Illinois ranks in the Top 10 for 2013’s most bicycle-friendly states.

But by 2020, Emanuel plans to make the Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the country by “identifying a 645-mile network of on-street bikeways that will encourage all Chicagoans to ride their bikes.” The challenge is to make pedestrians and drivers also feel safe by making bike lanes and car lanes more distinct and by making it apparent to walkers where and when bikers might be coming from.

More than 1,000 bicycle accidents are reported to the Chicago Police Department each year. One of the many goals of the Bike 2015 plan for Chicago is to consider and include bicyclists when building or reconstructing bridges, underpasses, roads and even expressways so that there are no significant barriers for them.  Also, with the colder months coming, it is vital to constantly be checking for potholes in the roads on a daily basis, which can immediately trap bicycle wheels.

Another goal of Emanuel is to increase sustainable energy awareness. Divvy’s initial funding came from federal grants for projects that promote economic recovery, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

Young stated that compared to other modes of transportation, “It’s a lot cheaper than a car, and it’s a lot more sustainable.”

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.