Monthly Archives: September 2013

Anxious driver cuts off bicyclist legally passing on the right


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

What happened

Roadway description: Sharrows (bicycle symbol with two chevrons)

Your story: Eastbound traffic on Lawrence was backed up from Broadway to about Clark St, and I was passing the stopped traffic on the right via the shared bike lane with ample room. A driver in a white- or light-colored wagon abruptly pulled into my path in order to turn right on Beacon St (he had previously been stopped, and I did not see a signal). I was forced to brake hard to avoid a collision.  After I shouted (and, admittedly, cursed) to get the driver’s attention, he slowed down long enough to scream his own set of obscenities at me before speeding off.

Suggested improvements: Infrastructure on Lawrence (east of Ravenswood, at least) seems adequate; shared lanes are marked and this is the first close call I’ve had on that route.  This seems to be an issue of driver awareness and education, particularly since bicyclists’ right to pass stopped traffic on the right was explicitly made legal this summer.

Editor’s note: Governor Quinn signed legislation that clarified existing legislation about whether or not bicyclists can pass on the right slower or stopped traffic. They always could but the legislation, which applied only to motorcyclists, was confusing. This means that the daily maneuver of a majority of people cycling – “filtering” to the front of a line of stopped cars – is legal.