Chicago’s bike sharing program just got a little more blue.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois announced a new $12.5 million, five-year sponsorship investment for the popular Divvy bike share program.
The partnership is expected to help expand the program and improve and maintain bike lanes in the city.
As part of the sponsorship agreement, Divvy bikes and vans across Chicago will soon sport an updated design with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois logos. The city and Divvy will also partner with the company to promote active transportation choices, like bike sharing, and “how these activities can lead to improved health and wellness,” according to a release from Emanuel’s office.
“Rarely do you have an opportunity to improve public health, protect our environment and boost productivity for individuals and businesses in a single, effective way,” Karen Atwood, President of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, said in a statement. “As the state’s largest health insurer, we are committed to fostering healthy, active lifestyles, and our support of the Divvy program is directly in keeping with that philosophy.”
Emanuel said he believes the partnership will encourage cycling in all neighborhoods across Chicago.
The city plans to leverage the additional $2.5 million in annual funds from the partnership to not only expand the Divvy system, but secure additional bike lane sweeping and snow removal equipment, fund more bike lane materials like bollards, signage and striping, employ more bike ambassadors to educate Chicagoans about bike safety and develop and print new bike route maps.
The program has proven to be popular in the Windy City.
Emanuel announced in April that in nine months of operations, Chicagoans and visitors took more than one million individual trips on the bike share system.