Recently, Qaedah Muhammad noticed that Divvy bikes were turning up by the dumpsters behind her building and elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Also, a lot of homeless people and kids in the area were riding around on divvy bikes.
“We knew they didn’t have debit or credit cards, but they were riding around all day,” Muhammad said.
There is a one-year discount plan for low-income residents that would allow a single-person household with an income under $35,310 to pay $5 instead of the $99 annual membership fee.
Under the “Divvy for Everyone” program, no credit card is required to access a bike.
But that doesn’t explain why Divvy bikes are popping up in unlikely places.
“We know a group of kids are disengaging the bikes. We also know that there are people shaking the bikes loose,” she told me.
Wouldn’t you think the bike ride-share company would rush to pick up stolen bikes?
But apparently that’s not the case, according to Muhammad who lives near one of the Divvy docks located at 74th and South Shore.
Muhammad said she once saw a police officer ride off on an abandoned Divvy bike because it wouldn’t fit in his cruiser.
This might sound like a trivial concern, but South Shore residents have their hands full trying to combat gun violence.
“If they can’t manage those stations, they should take them out of here because we have enough problems without adding stolen bikes,” Muhammad said.
Stolen Divvy bikes are a hot topic at the Beat 334 CAPS meetings.
Muhammad said she was told at a CAPS meeting that there is a pile of Divvy bikes over at the Third District. However, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said the Third District “has not received any Divvy bikes.”
But Divvy was made aware of the thefts earlier this summer,” according to a spokesman.
“We are aware that a small number of Divvy bikes were reported missing in the South Shore area this summer, but the vast majority were recovered within a matter of days,” a spokesman told me in an email
“As of today, we have checked and are not aware that any bikes need to be picked up from the Third District Station,” she said.
The city’s Department of Transportation owns the bikes, stations and vehicles used by the bike-share program.
‘“We don’t have a large number that have disappeared and have not been found again,” said Mike Claffey, director of Public Affairs at CDOT.
“We certainly want to work with the public to retrieve the bikes that have gone missing,” Claffey assured me.
Divvy members should be eager to get the stolen bikes back on the dock as well.
According to the Divvy User Agreement, “If a Divvy bicycle is not returned to a bike dock within a period of 24 consecutive hours, the bike is deemed ‘lost or stolen’ and a member’s credit or debit card will be charged a lost bike fee of up to $1,200, and a police report may be filed by Motivate with local authorities.”
Muhammad is disappointed that a representative from the bike-share company didn’t attend the CAPS meeting last Wednesday, where she said the group was told there were 20 arrests for stolen Divvy bikes last month.
“We are already complaining about crime and criminal activity, and this is adding to it,” she said.
Residents don’t know how these stolen bikes are being used. Maybe bored kids are ripping off the bikes simply because they do not have bikes of their own.
Or maybe the divvy bikes are being used in petty crimes.
Whatever the reason, these residents don’t want police resources tied up hauling away the city’s stolen Divvy bikes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The annual membership fee was corrected to $99.