Bicyclist ignored and honked at by taxi driver in Lakeview intersection

Location

2900 N Clark St, Chicago, IL
44th, Alderman Tom Tunney

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

I was riding south on Clark in the buffered bike lane. There was a taxi on Oakdale at the stop sign waiting to cross Clark to continue west on Oakdale. There is no stop sign for Clark St traffic here so I proceeded. There was a long line of cars ahead of me, but I was far enough behind the other cars to be outside of any blind spots. After the last car in the line went through, the taxi pulled out just as I was crossing Oakdale, and honked at me as if I were in his way. I slowed down quickly but at that point I had already crossed his path.

Suggested improvements

Sometimes it feels like drivers do not look out for bicyclists and believe there are only cars on the road.

This stretch of Clark St has no traffic controls (stop lights/signs) from Wellington to Diversey. There should be traffic calming measures to slow down car traffic and make it easier for pedestrians and bike riders, who are often ignored, to be visible. In general, all drivers need to learn that cars are not the only vehicles using the streets.

Bicyclist side-swiped by Comcast van driver on Lincoln Avenue

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Location

3336 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60640

Type

Passed closely

What happened

Had a Comcast van driver sideswipe me on Lincoln southbound. I screamed (because he scared the shit out of me) and started hitting his car with my hand as I stopped.

He pulled over (without using his turn signal) and proceeded to apologize profusely.

Suggested improvements

Protected bike lane.

Impatient driver speedily passes another in oncoming lane narrowly missing bicyclist

Location

651 S Wells St, Chicago, IL
2nd Ward, Bob Fioretti, soon to be 25th Ward, Danny Solis

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Traveling soutbound on S Wells St with blinking lights. The first vehicle was traveling northbound on Wells mid block at approximately 20mph. Second driver behind it thought that was to slow and swerved around first vehicle at a high rate of speed, greater than 35mph. As he swerved out it was directly at me. He missed me by about two feet. If it weren’t for my slight evade, I would have probably died and that’s not an exaggeration.

Suggested improvements

Traffic calming everywhere in the city, where roads encourage speeding. 

Bicyclist right-hooked in River North but has a conversation with driver afterwards

Location

Franklin and Ohio, Chicago, IL
42nd, Alderman Reilly

Type

Right hook

What happened

I was riding north on Franklin, about to go through a green light, when a van turned right in front of me. I yelled and the driver stopped after a couple seconds, but I couldn’t stop in time to avoid my arm hitting her right rearview mirror. (I don’t know if it counts as a close call since there was a collision, but I didn’t fall and wasn’t injured except for a bruise on my arm.)

After she stopped she started yelling at me and I yelled back at her–she said I wasn’t in the bike lane (there isn’t a bike lane there) and that I should have seen her turn signal (I was riding at the same rate as traffic, so I didn’t see it–I think that’s also why she didn’t see me). We argued for a couple minutes and then she said she’d pull over so we could talk about it out of the way of traffic, which she did, and then asked if I was OK and if I needed her information. I said I was all right and left it at that–it seemed like she’d been trying to drive carefully and just hadn’t seen me next to her van.

Suggested improvements

A dedicated right-turn lane might help.

Ed. note: I would disagree. A dedicated right-turn lane would move the conflict point slightly, but maintain a conflict point. I think that drivers need better training and it needs reinforcing that a bicyclist will be on any street at any time and deserve a look to the right and to the mirror. 

Bicyclist gets the horn and screaming treatment on Addison by Lane Tech High School

Location

2500 W. Addison St. Chicago, IL 60618
47th, Alderman Pawar

Type

Harassing driver
Passed closely

What happened

Driver in a minivan laid on his horn and screamed at me on Addison while I was traveling eastbound. This street has no shoulder at all and cyclists have no choice but to take the lane. Traffic jams when cars stop to turn left into McDonald’s. Once able to pass, the driver passed me with maybe a foot of clearance and proceeded to swerve towards me in a threatening manner several times before he was stopped by traffic and I was able to get ahead of him.

Suggested improvements

One lane of Addison between California and Western should be turned into a clearly marked bike lane. Traffic jams from left-turning vehicles could be resolved with green arrow cycles on the stoplights. A bike lane might also prevent parents from illegally parking their vehicles in the right lane to drop off kids at Lane Tech.

I wouldn't advise people to bike on Addison like this city sign doesEd. note: A sign installed by the City of Chicago several years ago recommends that people bicycle east on Addison from California through this area to reach Wrigley Field (see photo). As the development of the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 continued it became clear that there are few comfortable routes to cross the Chicago River (and expressways).

I use Montrose or Belmont to cross the river and I would never use Addison or Irving Park. Belmont is very similar to Addison in that it has four travel lanes and no bike lanes, but for a much shorter segment. 

Bicyclist almost doored on Damen and driver yells afterwards, “look out”

Location

Damen and Concord Chicago, IL 60613
32nd, Scott Waguespack, soon to be 2nd, Bob Fioretti

Type

Almost doored

What happened

I was heading south on Damen towards Milwaukee and luckily traffic was stopped. A woman threw her car door open. I swerved out of the way and stopped in front of her car to look back at her. She started screaming at me to look out so I left without saying anything.

Suggested improvements

Switch the bike lane and the parked cars so that the cyclists are protected from moving vehicles should a dooring occur. At the very least, wider lanes and better striping on bike lanes so car parkers know that there might be cyclists to look out for.

Ed. note: This part of Damen has extremely faded bike lane striping. 

The Fascist Automobile vs. Bicycle Rebellion

I won’t editorialize much on this website. As you know, it documents all the crashes that almost happened. It’s a tool to keep tabs on some of the reasons why people don’t take up bicycling in Chicago at a good rate.

Hart Noecker writes “Rebel Metropolis” from Portland, Oregon, and they’re not kidding around when they discuss all the ways that automobiles are terrible for cities. It’s a voice that’s not heard much. In Chicago, for all the ways that bicycling is being encouraged, there are not equivalent, or even a fraction of, ways to discourage running people over with cars, polluting, and causing the city to spend millions on road maintenance without full reimbursement.

Here’re the first two paragraphs of their latest blog post:

For months I haven’t had a hostile altercation with a motorist while riding my 12-speed 1987 Peugeot Corbier. It’s uncanny. In the war between bikes and cars, this cycling soldier hasn’t seen much action. Nor have I heard many tales of defying death from my bicycling comrades of late.

Granted, winter has just ended. Warm weather means more bikes in the street thereby making riders more visible, but a rising heat index can also elevate stress levels and increase incidents of road rage.

Keep reading.

Construction makes Halsted confusing and gets bicyclist almost hit

Location

501 S. Halsted St Chicago, IL 60607
25th Ward, Alderman Danny Solis

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

There is a ton of construction in this area due to the Circle Interchange work. Halsted is down to 2 lanes, one in each direction, with a continuous concrete barrier abutting the NB lane. I was turning left off of EB Harrison onto NB Halsted. With a green light in my favor, I made my left turn and narrowly averted a head-on collision with a car driving SB in the NB lane of Halsted.

After slamming on the brakes and swerving to dodge the first car, I saw there were multiple cars driving on the left side of a double yellow line heading my way. I fortunately was able to make a u-turn into the SB lane (where there stopped cars) and get to the sidewalk. I assumed I had made a mistake, and Halsted might have been one way b/c of construction, but as I crossed the bridge on the sidewalk, NB vehicle traffic continued across the bridge.

Suggested improvements

Suggested improvements for this location: This whole area is really dangerous currently. I’m not sure what you can do to stop people from driving on the wrong side, but if the construction on Halsted could move the barriers even five feet over they could add a cycle track.

Ed. note: Use Peoria Street while that bridge is still open. 

Bicyclist nearly hit as drivers use bike lane on the right to pass stopped car

Location

2000 W. Roscoe St, Chicago, IL
32nd Ward, Alderman Waguespack

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

A driver was waiting to turn left from westbound Roscoe into the Speedway gas station (at the southwest corner of the intersection with Damen).

Other drivers were swerving around the turning car to pass it in the bike lane. I was riding in the westbound bike lane, and was nearly hit.

Suggested improvements

Protected bike lane on Roscoe.

Driver buzzes bicyclist on Clark Street “with just a few inches between us”

Location

1925 N Clark St Chicago, IL
43rd Ward, Alderman Michele Smith

Type

Passed closely

What happened

A maroon Nissan Sentra passed me with just a few inches between us. This occurred in the right lane, just north of the Lincoln/Clark intersection, going south. The driver didn’t honk, just pulled up right beside me and started to pass me. I yelled, “HEY! MOVE! OVER!” and the driver did nothing.

At the light, there was enough time for me to knock (gently, I swear) on the window and tell the driver they have to give cyclists at least two feet of room when they pass. The driver and his passenger ignored me completely while I said that, stared straight ahead. After I turned right on to Lincoln, then left onto Wells, the driver caught up with me and stayed just off to my left and behind me until I hit the intersection of Wells and Chicago, at which point the car traffic was such that they lost me.

I’m not sure what their motivation was for following me, perhaps they were just taking the same route and were now afraid to pass me after our initial interaction.

Suggested improvements

That stretch of Clark after the bike lanes disappear has always resulted in bad car/bike interactions for me, especially once Clark expands south of Dickens. Add that to the potholes there and it results in some very close passing. My only suggestion would be an actual lane, or least better marked sharrows.