New Divvy scooters have phone chargers, blinkers and an AI-powered sidewalk-detecting camera
The scooters also have a 50-mile battery range, dual hand brakes and a shock-absorbing suspension. Five hundred of the newest scooters will hit Divvy docking stations by the end of June.
New and improved electric scooters are docking at Divvy stations this week.
The scooters have safety features and amenities not seen on previous models: Turn signals, phone holders and chargers, and a 50-mile battery range.
They also have dual hand brakes for better control, a shock-absorbing suspension and a camera that uses artificial intelligence to detect and warn riders when they’re on a sidewalk.
The scooters are clad in light-gray paint, mirroring Divvy’s newest electric bikes.
“It’s a smarter scooter,” said Gia Biagi, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, as she showed off the new scooters docked at Federal Plaza Wednesday.
Small screens on both sides of the handlebar show the rider’s speed and remaining battery life. When a front-facing camera detects a rider is on a sidewalk, a warning appears on the dashboard.
Five hundred new scooters will be added to docks by the end of June, bringing Divvy’s total scooter count to 1,500. One hundred have already hit the streets.
The new scooters are all able to be docked and charged at stations that were initially intended for bikes, said Cara Bader, senior policy manager for bikes and scooters at Lyft.
Since the new scooters can be docked or locked to objects, riders can more easily predict where they can find scooters, Bader said. It also helps keep scooters from cluttering sidewalks.
This summer marks the 10th anniversary of Divvy’s bike-share program.
Lyft, better known as a ride-hailing company, operates the Divvy program that is overseen by the city’s transportation department.
The expansion of Chicago’s scooter program comes a month after Divvy bikes became available in all 50 wards. It’s part of the transportation department’s micromobility expansion, Biagi said.
While bike- and scooter-sharing programs around the country have seen declining ridership since the COVID-19 pandemic, Divvy’s numbers in Chicago have increased.
Divvy reported 6.3 million bike and scooter trips last year, more than 60% higher than 2019, according to the transportation department.
“That says something about the way that people want to move around the city,” Biagi said.
Electric scooters were introduced in Chicago in 2019 in a four-month pilot program to a mixed reception. Those scooters were not compatible with Divvy docking stations and were often left on sidewalks, vandalized and even thrown into the Chicago River.
A second pilot for scooters in 2020 required scooters to have lock cables to keep them immobile between rides. The city’s scooter program became permanent in 2021.
Lyft was chosen by the City Council as the exclusive operator of Chicago’s Divvy bike-sharing system in 2019, until at least 2028.
Lyft is one of four scooter providers in Chicago. Lime, Spin and Superpedestrian operate scooters citywide. Lyft’s scooters are limited to the city’s central area between Pershing Road and Armitage Avenue.
Divvy said it had 550,000 unique riders last year and 43,000 paying members. The Divvy system has more than 800 stations and over 15,000 bikes and scooters.
Divvy claims to be the largest bike-share system by area in North America, covering 234 square miles of Chicago.