Driver stops just in time to avoid right-hooking bicyclist on Desplaines Street

Location

120 N Desplaines Street, Chicago, IL

Type

Right hook
Abrupt stop

What happened

I was cycling southbound on Desplaines Street when I was nearly right hooked by a driver turning their car into a parking lot. My loud yell caught the driver’s attention and thankfully they  stopped the Mercedes in time.

Suggested improvements

There are no signs here to indicate to a driver they are about to cross an additional lane of bicycle traffic while turning. Some sort of warning sign and/or green paint as used elsewhere in the city could be helpful to prevent this in the future.

Bicyclist has to stop abruptly to avoid SUV turning in front of view-blocking FedEx truck

Location

701 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL
Ward 27, Alderman Burnett

Type

Abrupt stop

What happened

Was cycling northbound on Milwaukee in the marked bike lane. First had to navigate around illegally parked delivery truck completely blocking the bike lane leaving a totally blind intersection to cross through. Then, the driver of a large SUV makes a left turn into a parking lot and unexpectedly stops while completely blocking the bike lane.

Slamming on the brakes is the only alternative here due to another illegally parked delivery truck which is blocking the only other safe exit path from this situation.

Suggested improvements

For this location and others would be designated parking areas for delivery vehicles that don’t block traffic lanes or bike lanes and are located in such a way that don’t create obstructed views of intersections. Also, ticketing of illegally parked vehicles could help with the illegal parking.

Bicyclist in terrifying incident with CTA bus driver who veers into them at bus stop

Location

1650 N Clark Street
Alderman Michelle Smith, 43rd Ward

Type

Passed closely

What happened

A southbound CTA 36 bus #1308 driven by a late 40’s white female passed myself and another cyclist very closely just before the Clark and LaSalle intersection. The cyclist in front of me was driven into an open door of a parked car. At that point I noted the number on the back of the bus, planning to file a report to CTA and went on my way, passing the bus at Clark and LaSalle. Approaching the red light at Clark and North, the bus driver again started to pass me very closely.

There is absolutely no way she didn’t know I was there. As the bus was at the less than halfway point past me with less than a bus length to go before the stop, she veered towards the stop with about 1 foot of space between the bus and the curb, with me in between. As this was happening, I was thinking the driver would slow for me to pass because it seemed inconceivable that the driver wouldn’t wait 3 seconds for me to reach the light.

I was screaming for her to stop and banging on the windows of the bus but she kept veering over towards the curb pinning me between the bus and the curb. I fell over onto the curb with my leg actually under the bus. I got myself and my bike up on the sidewalk (light still red) and the driver quickly closed the door so I couldn’t get on.

I banged on the door but she ignored me so I know she knows what she did. I noted the driver’s appearance and had already gotten the number on the bus from before when she passed so decided it best not to interact further and again passed the bus leaving it far behind.

Suggested improvements

Add PBL’s or at least some paint so drivers know there will be cyclists. Though in this case there is no way she missed seeing me. CTA drivers need to be certain that they have cleared bikers before veering towards the stop as well as pass with a minimum of 3 feet of space between.

Ed. note: This submitter has notified the Chicago Transit Authority of this incident, using their feedback@transitchicago.com contact point. 

Bicyclist gets buzzed on Franklin while riding Divvy towards a station

Location

450 S Franklin Street
Alderman Solis, 25th Ward

Type

Passed closely
As a reminder, Chicago code and Illinois statute require that motorists pass bicyclists with at least three feet of space between.

What happened

I was riding north on Franklin Street towards a Divvy station when the driver of a dark gray SUV (license plate #QLDOG) sped up from behind and steered towards me in an attempt to intimidate. They sped off, running yellow/red light at Van Buren.

Suggested improvements

Include a bike lane on east and west side of street.

Pace bus operator passes bicyclist closely, says bicyclist swerved in front of his bus

Location

900 S Damen Chicago, IL
Ward 27, Alderman Walter Burnett

Type

Passed closely

What happened

The operator of a large Pace bus and I were passing each other southbound on Damen Avenue with no incident. On the last pass though, near Taylor, the bus passed within less than the legally required minimum of 3 feet. I was riding in the designated bike lane, saw the bus approaching at this distance, but was unable to maneuver any further to the right. I caught up with the bus at 18th Street, knocked on his window and made motions toward my eyes and his. He opened the door and let me speak. I told him he passed me within the legal 3 feet, asked him if he saw me, and told him how he had put my life in danger. He acknowledged none of this, told me he did not see me, and accused me of swerving in front of him.

Suggested improvements

The issue was not with the location, it was the driver. Besides this incidence, I routinely encounter aggressive driving by Pace vehicles, and try my best to avoid them more than any other professional drivers in the city. The improvement needs to come from within their organization. Training for their drivers should include information about being respectable towards cyclists and obeying the laws pertaining to them.

Ed. note: It seems there was a “they came out of nowhere” attitude on the part of the bus operator, which is quite common when motorists put bicyclist in danger. I’d like to find this “nowhere” to see where all these bicyclists are coming from. 

Bicyclist on Clark Street almost rammed into by hospital courtesy van and driver

Location

2424 N Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614
Alderman Michele Smith, 43rd Ward

Type

Abrupt stop

What happened

I was riding in the shared bike/bus lane, southbound on Clark Street a bit after 8 am. In advance of the Fullerton/Clark intersection, I could see that there were a bunch of cars queued up to turn left. They were far back enough on the street that they were blocking any cars whose drivers wanted to proceed straight. At this point, the bike/bus lane is still clearly marked and divided from traffic, and is marked that way for another 50-60 feet.

Riding toward the intersection, I saw the Advocate Illinois Masonic Patient Courtesy van driver start to pull into the bike lane, in an apparent attempt to get around the jam of left-turning cars. Thinking they were going for it, I prepared to brake hard, but the van stopped, and I thought they saw me. I was wrong. As I pulled even with the front windows of the van, the driver hit the gas and the van jumped toward me and into the bike lane. I was able to swerve to the right and avoid the van. I yelled, “NO!” and pointed directly at the driver.

After I passed the van, the driver finished driving into the bike lane for the remaining 50-60 feet before the merged into the other lanes and pulled up behind me at the Southbound Fullerton/Clark red light. The light changed and the driver came up next to me, yelled something through the open passenger-side window. I couldn’t hear what they said, but their face looked none too friendly. I said, “Do you understand how bike lanes work?!?” but the driver was already gone, accelerating further down Clark street.

Suggested improvements

Short of building a buffered lane, which would mean it was no longer a rush hour bus lane, I’m not really sure.

Bicyclist right-hooked by taxi driver in River North

Location

Type

Right hook
Abrupt stop

What happened

I was riding eastbound in the bike lane on Illinois approaching a stale green light at State St. A cab driver from my left sped up to make it through the green light and abruptly made a right turn in front of me. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.

Suggested improvements

None provided.

Ed. note: call 311 (or go online) and report the cab number to the operator. The city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection takes seriously the dangerous and poor quality behavior that professionally licensed chauffeurs exhibit. 

Motorist looking for parking, instead of for bicyclist in bike lane on Kedize

Location

1945 N Kedzie Ave Chicago, IL
1st Ward, Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno

Type

Right hook

What happened

Riding westbound down Armitage, I was in the left-turn lane to turn left onto Kedzie. I pulled behind a driver in that lane, and when the light changed, he turned left into the traffic lane, and I turned left into the bike lane.

On Kedzie, the driver moved slowly enough that I pulled up alongside him in the bike lane. He then turned into the bike lane, heading towards me. I yelled, he noticed me, and made an apologetic gesture.

Suggested improvements 

Enforcement of motor vehicles that drive and park in the bike lanes. This driver behaved as drivers who are looking for parking do. However, there were no available parking spaces near the sport where he almost hit me. Had there been, I would have been aware that he was likely to turn and would not have put myself in a spot to get hit if he did so.

Therefore, I believe that he intended to pull into the bike lane to park there. Residents on this stretch of Kedzie are in the habit of using the bike lane as a loading/standing zone. This incident illustrates how that behavior is not just inconvenient to cyclists, but it is dangerous to them.

Pregnant Divvy rider almost gets run into riding in Halsted bike lane

Location

1900 S Halsted Street, Chicago, IL
25th Ward, Alderman Solis

Type

Right hook
Had to stop abruptly

What happened

I was biking north on Halsted headed toward the Divvy station around the corner on 18th. Northbound traffic was backed up from south of Canalport – normal for this time of day. The driver that swerved into the bike lane and, consequently, me was probably trying to get around a car waiting to turn left onto 19th through a gap in the similarly congested southbound traffic.

I screamed loudly enough that other drivers (including cops in a southbound police car) looked over, but was too busy swerving out of the way to see if the driver noticed me.

My left foot was scuffed from the driver’s front passenger-side tire. Thankfully the heavy-as-a-tank Divvy bike kept me upright. The driver didn’t stop, nor did any other drivers or passersby.

I’m (conspicuously) 8 months’ pregnant, and this close call was enough to guarantee that I won’t be riding until after my baby is born.

Suggested improvements 

The Halsted bike lanes are treacherous, particularly around rush hour. Buses commonly drive in them southbound – I’ve experienced this from Lincoln Park all the way down to Pershing.

Better signage won’t do much – I was maybe 5 feet from a bike lane sign. Better enforcement of traffic laws might help, but I made eye-contact with a cop immediately after the near-miss, and he didn’t intervene. 

Physical separation of the lanes seems like the only long-term intervention that will really make a difference in this location.

Bicyclist passed closely enough on Monroe to get hit by mirror

Location

West Monroe between Canal and Wacker Chicago, IL
42nd Ward, Alderman Reilly

Type

Passed closely

In this instance, the bicyclist was passed so closely they were hit. Chicago and Illinois laws require that motor vehicle drivers pass bicyclists with at least three feet between the bicyclist and the vehicle.

What happened

Biking east on Monroe, just past the river – the driver of a gray minivan (license plate “PJC”) passed on the left and bumped me hard enough to fold in their passenger side mirror, but not hard enough to knock me over or injure me.

Suggested improvements

A bike lane, and refreshed lane markings

Ed. note: I have changed the policy to include “light collisions”, situations where you are impacted/touched by a motor vehicle but where you’re not injured. If you are injured in a collision, you must file a crash report with the police – these situations will not be accepted on Close Calls.