By Dariel Chaidez
What can be said about the city of Chicago? To start, it is the third largest city in the U.S. and is home to over two million residents. Chicago is not only the industrial powerhouse of the Midwest, it is a beacon of transportation. Since the city’s inception, Chicago has been a major center of movement, whether that be of goods or people.
Along with the already easily accessible methods of movement such as the CTA, the sprawling grid of highways and streets, or the safe and beneficial walking routes around town, there is a new addition to the group: public biking.
The public biking system, known as Divvy bikes, are relatively new to Chicago. The idea, originally adapted from the public cycling transit in Paris, the first bikes were installed in 2013 with much success. Patrons are encouraged to purchase daily bike passes which allow use of the bikes for a certain period of time. When riders are done they can then park their bikes at one of the 476 bike stations conveniently located throughout the city.
First year student JoMarie Perlas said of the cycling system: “I love them! I think they are a great way for people to get from one place to another. It adds to the dynamic feel of the city.” The health benefits of the introduction of the Divvy bikes to Chicago is insurmountable. Now more than ever, exercise is so prevalently encouraged and available in our community. Having an active lifestyle is now as simple as renting a movie from Redbox. First year student Ashley Brozell speaks of the benefits of biking, "Biking is easy, cost effective, and practical.”This is one leap in the direction Chicago needs to go: the direction of health consciousness.
Though the health benefits are apparent, there are some drawbacks that may in fact turn some people away from renting a Divvy. In the dissenting opinion, Fourth year studnet Ana Santamaria gives her take on the introduction of the Divvy bikes: “I feel like they’re a good idea gone bad. First, you have to check them in too often. Second, there are no helmets provided, and third, there is no adequate space for riding in the bike lane.” There is truth in the fact some aspects of the system are in definite need of improvement. The most visible are the relative safety concerns of an inadequate bike lanes and a lack of protective gear.
With the popularity of cycling, one must not forget to be cautious at all times. Chicago law states you must use a front light and rear reflector for night riding. Always use extreme caution when riding in the bike lane along busy streets and make sure to be careful of pedestrians when crossing the street or the sidewalk. Bicyclists have to adhere to the same rules of the road as cars. Whether you welcome the Divvy bikes or await their removal, remember to be safe at all times and enjoy the ride.