Monthly Archives: July 2013

Two bicyclists get a right hook just before their light turns green

Type

Right hook (car turned right, across your path)
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Bike lane (left of parking lane)

Your story: Heading southbound on Wells in the bike lane, stopped at a red light at North Avenue and Wells. As the crosswalk countdown timer (for people crossing Wells along North Avenue) approached zero, a silver Mercedes was pulled to the left of myself and another bicyclist and proceeded to turn right onto North Avenue in front of us as the light turned green.

Suggested improvements: There is currently not a right turn lane at this location and cars are often parked close to the intersection in order to go to Starbucks. Have also previously had drivers cut in front of me to turn right. Should be posted as “no right on red” at this intersection.

Driver starts to open door but then looks, sees bicyclist, and closes it

Type

Almost doored
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Bike lane (left of parking lane)

Your story: I was riding behind a friend and we were headed southbound on Damen. A woman in an SUV was parked facing the same direction. She almost opened the door, but saw him and didn’t. As soon as he passed her, she started to open her door. I swerved a little bit and she quickly closed it and looked surprised. We made eye contact, but that was it. I kept riding.

Suggested improvements: A protected bike lane would be great!

Bicyclist walks bike in crosswalk, truck driver blares horn and cuts them off

Type

Passed really closely
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Crosswalk

Your story: I was walking my bike in the crosswalk because this intersection is too dangerous to ride in. I had the walk signal, but a large truck turning left (north onto Damen) let a long blast from the horn and drove through the crosswalk at high speed, missing me by about 10 inches.

Suggested improvements: Protected bike lane, bike signals.

Driver exiting LSD sees bicyclist but turns right across their path anyway

Type

Other
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: No bicycle markings

Your story: Northbound on Lakefront Trail, a driver turning right from Lake Shore Drive exit ramp looked right at me, then made a right turn in front of me.

Suggested improvements: Signage, etc. perhaps motion or radar activated blinking lights? It could blink when something on the trail is traveling in excess of 15mph near the street crossing.

Driver doesn’t stop at intersection and bicyclist stops quickly to avoid collision on Inner Drive

Type

Other
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: No bicycle markings

Your story: I was headed north on the Inner Drive, alongside the park. I came to a foot-down stop at the intersection, where all northbound traffic must turn left. I signaled my left turn. The southbound driver who arrived at the intersection at the same time I did and I moved into the intersection at the same time. As I began my left turn onto Briar, the southbound driver behind the first car moved through the stop sign without stopping. I had to swerve and stop short to avoid the collision.

Suggested improvements: I don’t know. It was the driver who ignored the stop sign who needs improvement!

Bicyclist alerts mid-block-crossing pedestrian to their presence avoiding collision

Type

Other
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Cycle track/protected bike lane (you’re between parked cars and the curb)

Your story: In my case, a pedestrian crossing Dearborn Street mid block from east to west passed between parked SUVs and was about to step in front of me as I rode north in the protected bike lane. I was scanning the area ahead of me on both sides of the lane and saw him before he stepped between the SUVs. I called out loudly before he stepped into the lane and he stopped.

Suggested improvements: A curb between parking lane and bike lane, or raised bike lane, would make bike lane more obvious to mid-block-crossing pedestrians as well as drivers.

Are you including ped incidents [not at this time]?

Cabbie in right-turn lane goes straight instead of turning right

Type

1. Passed really closely
2. Other (read what happened)
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Bike lane (conventional, left of parking lane)

Your story: I was in the bike lane going westbound on Madison when I got to LaSalle. The lane to the right is a right-turn only lane. As a car is supposed to turn directly right, I was going to turn right as well, but into the far lane on LaSalle as opposed to the curb lane [so I was going to make a right turn from the through lane next to the right-turn lane]. Well, as I got to the light it turned green for traffic on Madison. The cab in the right-turn lane, instead of turning right, went straight across, about an inch from my front tire.

Suggested improvements: Not sure that I was in the right by expecting to take a right turn there, but I know the cab was in the wrong by not turning. The paint markings are clear enough there.  I just chalk it up to bad driving.

Bicyclist right hooked at common spot: southbound Milwaukee at Augusta

Type

Right hook (car turned right, across your path)
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Green-painted bike lane between two vehicle lanes

Your story: Travelling SB on N Milwaukee just before the W Augusta Boulevard/Kennedy Expressway intersection. I was in the green-paitned bike lane there, which is surrounded by a through lane on the left and a turning lane on the right. Driver in the through lane decided he wanted to be in the turning lane without checking his six, or using a turn signal. I was going slow enough I was able to hard brake.

Suggested improvements:

  1. Bare minimum: Repaint the green lane.
  2. Improved signage for motorists. For example, at least a sign that says “Right Lane W Augusta/Kennedy Expy”. I get a lot of last minute lane changers throughout this whole intersection. Many drivers travel through the left, through lane past Augusta, then attempt to right turn onto the Kennedy.
  3. Blow up the Kennedy
  4. Reconfiguration of the intersection with cycle track and bicycle lights. Or those “fancy” European intersections that prevent motorists and cylists from having that conflict. You know the barnes dance-bicycle-dutch type.

Steven’s note: I see this happen 50% of the time I’m at this intersection. 25% of the time I see it it’s happening to me. I wrote about this on Grid Chicago. The pavement markings could be improved immediately to have “through the intersection” lines – the lanes already have “THROUGH ONLY” but the right lane has a through arrow + a right-turn arrow. There is a single sign that denotes how drivers should position their automobiles based on their destination: The sign shows two right-turning arrows and a through-arrow. However, it seems that too many people interpret these directions as forcing them to turn right onto Augusta.

Here’s another idea: ban right turns onto Augusta so that all right turns are onto the Kennedy. If you want to make a right turn onto Augusta, you can turn off Milwaukee onto southbound Noble Street (which is currently one-way northbound, though).

Which of these cars on the left will merge towards the left and block bicyclists?

It’s often very easy to tell which driver in the through lane will actually turn into the Kennedy Expressway on-ramp to the right, likely cutting off a bicyclist: look at where the car wheels are. If they’re on the line between the through lane and the bike lane, or in the bike lane, likelihood is high.

There’s a game I like to play here: which driver will turn into the Kennedy on-ramp from the through lane?

Bicyclist left-hooked while cycling in 18th Street protected bike lane

Type

Left hook

Location

18th Street and Wentworth Avenue

25th Ward, Alderman Solis

What happened

Driver turned left from westbound 18th, southbound onto Wentworth crossing my eastbound path. I was able to slow down enough to avoid an actual collision, but it was very close. We did exchange words, but mine were in English and the driver’s were in another language so I’m not sure if anything useful was conveyed.

Suggested improvements for this location: Ideally, there should be no motor vehicle access to or from Wentworth at this intersection. At the very least, northbound traffic on Wentworth should be physically limited to one lane. When two lanes form, it is not uncommon for the left turning traffic to block the view of the right turning traffic “forcing” them to creep out into the bike lane to see what is happening. The alderman’s office claims that such a project (a bump-out of some kind) is in the works.

High-speed traffic on Fullerton makes drivers wary and not look for bicyclists

Type

Left hook: oncoming (opposite direction car turned left, across your path)
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: No bicycle markings

Your story: I was heading south on Oakley while towing my daughter in a Burley trailer. I stopped at the stop sign at Fullerton. Another car was stopped at the stop sign across Fullerton facing north with no turn signal. When there was a gap in the cars on Fullerton long enough to stop safely, I proceeded, but the car coming towards me turned left, nearly hitting me. I hit my brakes in time to avoid an accident. I saw a look of horror on the driver’s face as she realized she nearly took out a bike pulling a child.

Suggested improvements:

1. More driver education and better licensing.

2. Better bike infrastructure near Fullerton and Western Avenue. Both streets are difficult to cross when you don’t have the protection of a light, but the streets with that protection tend to be terrible to bike on.  My daughter’s daycare is near Fullerton and Western, and we keep trying different routes to find one to safely pick her up.

3. Speed enforcement and traffic calming on Fullerton. I suspect the reason the driver made the mistake she did was because she was nervous about all the high-speed traffic on Fullerton that would be coming if she didn’t make the left turn quickly enough.