Divvy's Top Rider Talks About Getting African-Americans Onto Divvy Bikes

Kerida Roland is an African-American delivery man based in Chicago's South Loop who put more than 6,000 miles on Divvy bikes in 2017.
January 16, 2018, 9am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Susan Montgomery

Divvy's users are disproportionately wealthy whites, so when the agency announced its top rider was African American delivery rider from Bronzeville, the news seemed to break the narrative about bikeshare in Chicago. Kerida Roland rode 6,275 miles last year making deliveries everywhere from Hyde Park to Lincoln Park.

"Roland, a 25-year-old South Loop resident who takes delivery orders via the Postmates, Caviar, and Uber Eats smartphone apps, says his strategy isn't as crazy as it sounds," John Greenfield reports for the Chicago Reader. While using Divvy for work means he has to find stations periodically, he likes avoiding the maintenance and risk of riding his own bike. "Roland says he started using Divvy for deliveries after thieves nabbed three of his personal bikes, one of which he'd spent hundreds of dollars customizing," Greenfield reports.

So why don't more African Americans and Southsiders ride Divvy? Roland agrees with results of a study from the University of Portland which found, "Concerns about traffic safety, crime, police harassment, user fees, and liability for the bikes are factors in low ridership," Greenfield writes, but Roland goes on to say the city could do more to explain the program, particularly its benefits. Roland enjoys biking in part because it's more reliable than the El, and the freedom from traffic jams, means he knows when he will get where he's going. 

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Published on Thursday, January 11, 2018 in The Chicago Reader
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