Monthly Archives: October 2013

Bicyclist almost side swiped when passing a stopped CTA bus on Milwaukee

Type

Passed closely

What happened

While passing a bus stopped at a stop a black pick up on giant tires almost side swiped me. Plate # YA 1 ND or something like that in those shapes. I’ve felt like I was almost sideswiped many times before, but now I really know what it feels like.

I stopped to tell the state police officer parked just on the other side of the bus stop and he was unable to help because he was “off duty” and “unarmed” but he was in an official vehicle.

Suggested improvements for this location: Bike lane, wider street, wider bus stop so the bus can pull in more.

Divvy bicyclist almost rammed by taxi driver on Van Buren

Type

Passed closely
Had to stop abruptly

What happened

I was traveling as far to the right on Van Buren Street as safely possible, and there was little traffic on the street. A taxi cut across all lanes of traffic and almost ran into me at a 90-degree angle in the middle of the street. I stopped quickly (luckily the Divvy brakes were responsive enough and I was traveling slowly). No words were exchanged, only a head shake and eye contact with the driver.

Suggested improvements for this location: A protected lane to get east and west in the Loop, as well as vigorous and random enforcement of taxi drivers. I could submit a close call and taxi complaint every day based on the behavior of taxi drivers not looking before maneuvering.

Driver makes eye contract on Jackson but still almost runs into bicyclist

Type

Passed closely

What happened

I was biking in the rightmost “bus” lane on Jackson (which is one-way, eastbound here) when a driver in the second-to-rightmost lane put on his blinker. I was biking directly next to the driver. I made eye contact with the driver and proceeded as he slowed to pull over. He pulled right into me, forcing me to pedal faster to get ahead. Otherwise he world have knocked me over or I would have been forced into the curb.

Suggested improvements for this location: Protected bike lane. There is plenty of room to accommodate all modes on this wide one-way.

Driver honks, follows, and harasses bicyclist in Evanston

Type

Harassing driver

What happened

I was taking my usual route to work and was stopped at the stop sign on Grove, attempting to cross Ridge. Ridge is very busy at this intersection and has no stop sign, so sometimes there is a wait to cross. A pick-up truck came up fast behind me and started honking. I turned to look and he had his right turn signal on. He gestured with his hand with a shooing motion indicating that I should cross, which was impossible with the given traffic, or move to let him through. I could do neither, because of space restrictions, so I held up my arm in front of me to let him know I was going straight and proceeded to wait for an opening to cross. He continued honking throughout my wait and then, when there was a break in traffic, I crossed. Instead of turning right, he also went straight, followed me and continued honking. He passed me on the next block far closer than the required 3 feet. I passed him on the right at the next stop light at Church and Asbury, where I went to the front of traffic, signaled, waited for the light to turn green and then turned left. He also turned left, followed me again, honking, and then had his passenger roll down the window to yell at me as they passed me, again unsafely, before blowing by me well over the speed limit.

I got their license number (K99 1437) but the police said they were not interested unless I was willing to be pulled out of work to be interviewed by an officer. I understand them having this requirement, but I was not able to take off the needed time from work.

Suggested improvements: [submitter didn’t provide any]

Bicyclists get harassed by driver wanting to turn right onto Ashland from Elston

Type

Right hook

What happened

I was bicycling northbound on Elston with four others on bicycles. Coming out of the intersection with Armitage, we are all positioned in the right-hand lane and continuing with the lane as it traverses Ashland. An impatient driver in a compact car wishes to turn right onto Ashland, but was not positioned behind us nor using a turn signal. The driver stops in the through lane at the Ashland/Elston intersection, honks and yells as we travel straight through the light.

As part of my regular commute home, I am nearly right-hooked at least once a week at this location.

Suggested improvements for this location: Narrow roadway north of Armitage with new curb (or, as interim measure, use bollards, planters, and paint). Square the intersection to remove right turn only lane at Ashland, making left lane a thru/turn lane. Extend bike facilities through this stretch, as they exist before and just after it.

Editor’s note: This is a frequent right-hook location. The following video I made shows the situation.

Impatient driver swerves around other driver almost ramming bicyclist on Lincoln

Type

Right hook or left hook

What happened

Was heading south on Lincoln coming up to Lincoln/George/Lakewood intersection. The light was green, and a driver decided to turn left onto George, and the car behind this turning car couldn’t wait one second so swerved right into my path as I was going at a pretty good pace. Had to hit the window of the swerving car or else the driver of this car would have been pushed me into the curb/light pole and it wouldn’t have been pretty.

Suggested improvements for this location: There are only bicycle sharrows on this stretch of Lincoln. A designated bike route, Lincoln is strange because drivers get impatient waiting behind bicyclists who don’t feel safe at all trying to balance out of the door zone and cars zooming by at 30 mph on your left. Would not have a car swerve in front if there was a two-way protected bicycle lane on Lincoln instead of this constant shifting/swerving/balancing/cringing that is currently on Lincoln. I think a bicycle light would also alleviate some of the merging problems at intersections like this, allowing bicycles to move through first.

Editor’s note: Like the leading pedestrian interval at many intersections, a leading bike interval could do a lot of good in keeping bicyclists, who are legally allowed to filter to the front of a lane on a shared-lane street like Lincoln, in view of drivers.

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Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Driver was proceeding west from an alleyway attempting to turn south onto Glenwood. Driver repeatedly looked left and right, I was aware of his desire and prepared to stop in case he pulled out. At the moment the driver pulled out, I was roughly 10 feet from his vehicle and then slammed on my brakes to stop less than five feet from the car door.

Received the “OH NO” look from the driver and they quickly continued their turn southbound onto Glenwood.

Suggested improvements for this location: It’s an alley, drivers must pay attention and look for ALL traffic and not just cars. There isn’t much that I’m aware of that can be done to prevent this again.

Editor’s note: Daylighting the alley entrance by pulling back car parking 30 feet in direction of travel, 20 feet in opposite direction can address this situation. This is what you see at some crosswalks (it’s only required to park this far away from a crosswalk when a sign says so).

Impatient motorists almost slam into bicyclist on Harrison Street

Type

Right hook or left hook
Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Traveling West on the Harrison motor speedway, coming over the bridge. Only one lane is marked, but many drivers treat this as a two lane road (in each direction). One vehicle was waiting to make left turn into the Post Office. Impatient WB driver decided to skirt around turning motorist at the same time a faster WB motorist had the same idea. So stopped car darted out towards me, faster car darted out to me. All of us had to slam on the brakes. Thankfully I was okay and the bridge (which I was currently on) had the plates, otherwise I would have skidded on the metal bridge and been in a world of pain.

Suggested improvements for this location: Harrison needs a) Road diet b) bike lanes c) better markings d) motorists need to learn that waiting behind a stopped car has virtually no impact on their commute time and the risks in savings 2 seconds in getting to the next stop light are not worth my life.

Driver speeds out of parking garage while bicyclist stops quickly to avoid collision

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Driver exited the parking garage with little consideration for potential pedestrians on the sidewalk and on focused on the eastbound traffic on 8th street. As soon as I arrived at the alley under the ‘L’, the driver accelerated from the parking garage forcing me to come to an abrupt stop to avoid running into his car.

Ed. note: submitter declined to provide suggested improvements. 

Bicyclist stops abruptly to avoid being creamed by cellphone-toting driver

Type

Left hook

What happened

I was going west on Armitage through the intersection at Humboldt. A woman driving an eastbound car turned left. Had I not hit my brakes, we would have collided. She saw me at the last minute and hit her brakes, but not enough to stop. As she drove past me, I saw that she was holding her phone up at the steering wheel level.

Suggested improvements for this location: This appears to be a classic example of a driver too engrossed in her phone to pay attention to the road. Clearly the current level of enforcement and penalties is insufficient to deter drivers from flagrantly violating the laws about cell phone usage.