Monthly Archives: July 2013

Bicyclist yells and car passenger quickly shuts door, avoiding a crash

Type

Almost doored
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Left-side bike lane (right of parking lane)

Your story: I was riding home from work on Monday, July 15, 2013 around 5:15pm. I take the  bike lane on Dearborn Street north to Walton, then head west on Walton to Clark Street and take that to Lincoln. North of Kedzie Street, the Dearborn cycle track becomes a one-way bike lane on the left side of the street with parked cars against the curb to a rider’s left hand side. As I neared my turn onto Walton, the passenger side door of a black sedan swung open. I immediately slowed my bicycle and yelled out. The passenger quickly grabbed the door and shut it before I made contact or swerved into the road. I came less than two feet from hitting the door. Thankfully, quick reactions from both of us allowed me to safely complete my ride home.

Suggested improvements: The unorthodox nature of parked cars on the left side of a cyclist calls for a buffer between the parking spots and the bike lane. If the passenger and I had and extra 12-24 inches of space, we could have avoided our scare.

Location is approximate. 

Curvy and wide park roads invite drivers to speed in the bike lane

Type

1. Passed really closely
2. Swerved into your path and then out of your path

Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Bike lane (against the curb, no parking)

Your story: I ‘ve noticed this “tendency” along those streets that pass through city parks or those roads that pass through the area’s forest preserves. Despite posted low speed limits, cars break those limits. And G-d help you if the lanes are curved because they tend to swerve into the curve, cutting you off.

Suggested improvements: Truly “protected” bike lanes where cars can’t get physically near you OR [and?] better education of drivers.

Driver passes on right, then stops short in front of bicyclist in left-turn lane

Type

Car stopped abruptly
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: No bicycle markings

Your story: I was riding eastbound on Diversey in the left-turn lane at Sheridan, and the driver of a silver Jeep SUV passed me on the right into the left-turn lane, and [we both] had to stop short because there was already another vehicle in front of me, and traffic was slowing into the green light at the intersection due to congestion.

Suggested improvements: Cycling infrastructure on Diversey needs to be improved in general. Also, I would like to see a good way to get from Diversey and Sheridan to the LFT. It is currently not legal to ride due east on Diversey across Sheridan, because Diversey is one-way westbound from Commonwealth to Sheridan (all of 200 feet). The legal options are to head north on Sheridan and then east and south to the LFT, or south to Fullerton.

Steven’s note: On one-way residential streets in many European countries, it is legal for people to bicycle in both directions. One-way streets are designed to be a *car* traffic management measure, to reduce the amount of “through traffic” (non-resident traffic) in residential areas. This has the side effect of reducing the number of safe routes for bicycling.

Driver tells bicyclists to “get off the road” on Washington Street

Type

1. Passed really closely
2. Swerved into your path and then out of your path
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: No bicycle markings

Your story: Another cyclist and I were riding eastbound on Washington Street. As we passed across Dearborn Street, a motorist in a red SUV behind us squealed his tires as he sped up. He then swerved into the center lane when he was within a car-length of us. He did the same thing at the next two lights – buzzing cyclists as he yells “Get off the road!”.

Suggested improvements: Educate motorists and enforce traffic laws.

Bicyclist falls because tires got caught in old train tracks on Magnolia Avenue

Type

Other
Injury: Minor scrapes, bumps and bruises

What happened

Roadway description: Train tracks on the road

Your story: I was riding northbound on Elston Avenue just south of North Avenue. I turned east onto Magnolia Avenue. Magnolia is not a high-traffic street so I took it planning to reach North Avenue. However there are old train tracks on the road with wide gaps where my front tire got caught causing me to slide off the left side of my bike and falling off. I scraped my knees pretty badly. I was lucky the oncoming car on the opposite side of the road was still far otherwise I could have been run off since I slid into the oncoming road lane. The oncoming driver was nice and stopped to ask if I was ok. Fortunately I didn’t break anything, but my knees do hurt a lot.

Approaching the bad intersection

Looking north on Elston Avenue, where the bicyclist turned right onto northbound Magnolia Avenue.

Suggested improvements: My suggestion is, fixing the roads. Chicago officials take so much pride in making the city bike-friendly and bragging about during press conferences but they forget the number one factor for this plan to work: safe roads for EVERYONE not just for bikers. It is great to create bike lanes, but the roads are still extremely dangerous. These train tracks on Magnolia Avenue are old and not in use anymore. The city should invest in fixing all major roads and fixing roads where train tracks are no longer in use.

Pinch point and sunken sewer cover cause for almost being doored on Milwaukee

Type

Almost doored

Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Sharrows (bicycle symbol with two chevrons)

Your story: Just your typical almost dooring on Milwaukee. This happened right around the stretch of SB Milwaukee, just past division where there is no bike lane and the bike lane is about to start. I’m not even sure if a sharrow is technically there or not. Was moving with traffic, had blinking light on at night and nearly lost it to an inconsiderate motorist exiting their vehicle. Few cars with me, but the motorist behind me (thankfully) was sharing the road with me and giving me space so I was able to swerve and avoid the door.

Suggested improvements: Continuous bike lane on lower Milwaukee. At least better road markings or removal of parking from near major intersections where the bike lanes tend to disappear within 100 feet of them until bike lanes start back up. Crossing Division from SB Milwaukee always has that pinch point right there with traffic on the left, giant, uneven manhole in the middle and parking cars on the right. Hate it every morning and I’m always one of those cyclists who tries to get the jump on the light to have room to make it through safely.