Divvy Bike Thefts a Vicious Cycle in Chicago

With 580 docking stations and nearly 5,800 bikes, Divvy bikes have become a familiar sight on Chicago’s streets since the bike-share program’s introduction just five years ago. But this summer, a rash of crimes committed by people riding the chunky blue bikes has drawn attention to an epidemic of Divvy bike theft in Chicago.

John Greenfield, editor of Streetsblog Chicago, obtained emails from city officials that exposed the extent of the theft problem and wrote about it for the Chicago Reader after learning about the thefts from crime blog CWB Chicago. CWB also reported on other crimes committed by people riding Divvy bikes, including purse-snatching and even shootings. In the meantime, reports and photos of stolen Divvy bikes around Chicago continue to pile up on social media under the hashtag #freedivvy.

According to Divvy, the bikes were vulnerable to theft due to an intentionally omitted hardware component in the docking system. An anonymous source speculated to Greenfield that the component was omitted to make the bikes easier to dock. Divvy reports that crews are nearly done installing the piece of hardware in the docking stations as well as making a software adjustment for greater security.

Greenfield joins us to talk about the thefts and whether there’s an end in sight.

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