1600 N Clark St
43rd Ward, Alderman Michele Smith
The same taxi driver passed myself and another cyclist with about eight inches to spare two times in a row where both of us had to swerve into parked cars to get out of his way. Clark Street at this location is quite wide and there was plenty of space to pass safely.
When I pulled up next to him at Clark and North I asked him to roll down his window and requested that he not pass cyclists so close. His response was “This is not a bicycle path. It is illegal for you to bike here”.
I told him that legally we are allowed to bike on the streets and that the law was that he has to pass with at least three feet of space. At this point he started yelling at me “How much taxes do you pay? I pay taxes.”
I’m not sure where he was going with his class-based argument. Was he implying that people who pay more taxes are more entitled to public space? I informed him that I pay property tax, income tax, sales tax and though I rarely use it I have a car which I also pay tax on. At that point I could see I was getting nowhere and I was getting pretty steamed so I just left.
Do taxi drivers have to take some sort of test indicating that they understand road rules before getting a license? It seems that this guy really had no idea that cyclists are legally allowed to bike on the street.
Ed. note: Taxi drivers indeed take a public chauffeur course at Harold Washington College before the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will issue them a chauffeur permit.