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.

Bicyclist alerts driver to impending collision, driver avoids and revs engine

Location

4100 N California Ave, Chicago, IL
33rd Ward, Alderman Deb Mell

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Heading north on California Ave next to Horner Park and a driver abruptly decided to try and move into the parking lane in order to turn right into one of the Horner Park entrances. They saw me and I yelled and then told them to watch out, which the driver and 5 passengers didn’t seem to like, which led to the driver revving his engine while I continued in front of him north on California.

Suggested improvements

Repainting the shared bike lane markings would be nice. A protected bike lane would be better although I don’t know if the street is wide enough [it would be wide enough if you removed parking from one side, like the park side which has its own parking lots].

Something like California between Addison and Roscoe would be better (well defined lane, maybe buffered).

Bicyclist screams to prevent SUV driver from turning into them

Location

3600 N Southport, Chicago, IL

Type

Right hook

What happened

I’m not sure the exact date/time but it was during an afternoon Cubs game. 

I’m riding northbound on Southport through the Addison intersection. At the intersection, the driver of a black SUV, without using their turn signal, turns right into me, trying to head east on Addison. I scream, and they stop before hitting me. 

The driver and passenger both have Cubs gear on. 

Suggested improvements

Bike way sight lines through intersections. More police monitoring & punishment of drunk drivers during Cubs games in Lakeview.

Bicyclist stops abruptly on North Avenue to avoid colliding with driver exiting parking space

Location

2200 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL
32nd Ward, Alderman Scott Waguespack

Type

Car turning (leaving parking space)
Abrupt stop

What happened

Your A driver of a parallel-parked car to my left pulled out of the space without signaling, nearly running into me. I yelled “hey! hey!” while braking and avoided the collision. He stopped his car to apologize, stating he didn’t see me because his mirrors were covered with water (it was raining at the time).

Suggested improvements

Bike-car separation is really the only thing I know of.

Nissan driver tells bicyclist riding on Franklin St. to “get the hell off the road”

Location

646 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL
42nd Ward, Alderman Reilly

Type

Passed closely

What happened

A driver in a gold/champagne-colored, early 2000s Nissan Altima passed too close to me (~1-2 inches of separation) northbound on Franklin, just south of Erie. I yelled “HEY!” when the driver got too close. We both stopped at the red light at Erie, at which point the driver rolled down his window, hung up his cell phone call, and told me to “Get the hell off the road.” I was pretty worked up, so when I angrily told him that he had to give me 3 feet at minimum, he insisted that he was right and I had to get out of his way and that bikes should get out of the street.

I asked (still pretty angrily and adrenaline fueled) him if he’d like to talk to a cop about it, even offering to show him exactly which law he violated with the Bike Laws app. He told me to fuck off and said, “I’ll turn you into one of those white bikes with flowers on them.”

When the light finally changed, the driver sped off straight, I chose to turn right on to Erie rather than deal with encountering him again.

Suggested improvements

Just any bike infrastructure would be nice, really. [There aren't] even sharrow markings on that part of the street.

The road is also very narrow as it’s under the El tracks, so I think adjusting/removing parking along that part of the street would also help.

Bicyclist gets brushed by knowing driver on Pulaski Road

Location

3881 N Pulaski Rd,  Chicago
30th Ward, Alderman Ariel Reboyras

Type

Passed closely

What happened

Proceeding through intersection after the green light towards Irving Park Road. The intersection is messy because of the Kennedy ramp. There was a large truck on my left. I was trying to get ahead to where there were two defined lanes. 

While biking with the truck on my left, a guy driving in a white sedan, with a female passenger tries to squeeze between the truck and myself, with about 2 inches of room between us. His right side view mirror hit my arm, but I didn’t lose balance. We both were stopped at the next light at Irving Park Road. I knocked on his window to let him know that his car hit me. He said “I know, I’m sorry”.

Suggested improvements

Bike lane, painted road

Driver buzzes bicyclist on Logan trying to cross Western

Location

Logan and Western (under the viaduct), Chicago, IL
1st Ward, Alderman Moreno (according to 2012 remap)

Type

Passed closely

What happened

As we progressed west on the boulevard under the viaduct, I took the right lane. A driver behind me hit the gas and zoomed past me, moving back into the right lane and passed my girlfriend with only a foot or so to spare.

Suggested improvements

Protected bike lane across Western and under the expressway. This is a long time coming – a cyclist was killed at this intersection five or six years ago.

Ed. note: This is a frequently problematic intersection for people to cross on bikes, and yes, as the submitter points out, there is a ghost bike here representing the death of Tyler Fabeck in 2008. The intersection is a key link between a very large residential and a very large shopping area (including Target and Strack & Van Til) with zero alternatives (save for a double-long route north to Elston and then southeast to the shopping area).

From 2005-2012 there have been 10 injuries to bicyclists and 2 injuries to pedestrians (reported). This is low compared to other “big” (as in geometry) intersections because, I believe, the bicycle traffic is low due to avoidance. This is also a dangerous place for people driving.