Monthly Archives: April 2014

Driver turns across Dearborn cycle track and forces bicyclist to run into car

Location

320 N Dearborn St Chicago, IL

Type

Right hook (but actually to the left)
Had to stop abruptly

What happened

I was northbound in the protected Dearborn bike lane during rush hour. The driver of a black livery car turned left into the Westin Hotel driveway and I was forced to slam my brakes. I skidded into his driver’s-side door (at relatively low speed, but unavoidable).

He kept his window rolled up as I berated him, not seeming to understand that I had the right of way. I’d guess there was a customer in the back seat. Several other bicyclists were northbound with me, and remarked upon how scary a spot that driveway is. This is a perennial close-call spot in my commute, with drivers both entering and exiting the hotel driveway.

Suggested improvements

I can’t recall exactly, but I don’t think there’s any vertical signage there marking the bike lane for left-turning drivers. A green box extending into the gap in the parking lane would help, I suppose.

Ed. note: Another possibility is raising the bike lane at this point to the curb level and putting the driveway ramp in the “gap” in the parking lane. The ramp should be a different color and texture to highlight that this is a different situation that requires additional care.

Bicyclist ignored and honked at by taxi driver in Lakeview intersection

Location

2900 N Clark St, Chicago, IL
44th, Alderman Tom Tunney

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

I was riding south on Clark in the buffered bike lane. There was a taxi on Oakdale at the stop sign waiting to cross Clark to continue west on Oakdale. There is no stop sign for Clark St traffic here so I proceeded. There was a long line of cars ahead of me, but I was far enough behind the other cars to be outside of any blind spots. After the last car in the line went through, the taxi pulled out just as I was crossing Oakdale, and honked at me as if I were in his way. I slowed down quickly but at that point I had already crossed his path.

Suggested improvements

Sometimes it feels like drivers do not look out for bicyclists and believe there are only cars on the road.

This stretch of Clark St has no traffic controls (stop lights/signs) from Wellington to Diversey. There should be traffic calming measures to slow down car traffic and make it easier for pedestrians and bike riders, who are often ignored, to be visible. In general, all drivers need to learn that cars are not the only vehicles using the streets.

Bicyclist side-swiped by Comcast van driver on Lincoln Avenue

[geo_mashup_map

Location

3336 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60640

Type

Passed closely

What happened

Had a Comcast van driver sideswipe me on Lincoln southbound. I screamed (because he scared the shit out of me) and started hitting his car with my hand as I stopped.

He pulled over (without using his turn signal) and proceeded to apologize profusely.

Suggested improvements

Protected bike lane.

Impatient driver speedily passes another in oncoming lane narrowly missing bicyclist

Location

651 S Wells St, Chicago, IL
2nd Ward, Bob Fioretti, soon to be 25th Ward, Danny Solis

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Traveling soutbound on S Wells St with blinking lights. The first vehicle was traveling northbound on Wells mid block at approximately 20mph. Second driver behind it thought that was to slow and swerved around first vehicle at a high rate of speed, greater than 35mph. As he swerved out it was directly at me. He missed me by about two feet. If it weren’t for my slight evade, I would have probably died and that’s not an exaggeration.

Suggested improvements

Traffic calming everywhere in the city, where roads encourage speeding. 

Bicyclist right-hooked in River North but has a conversation with driver afterwards

Location

Franklin and Ohio, Chicago, IL
42nd, Alderman Reilly

Type

Right hook

What happened

I was riding north on Franklin, about to go through a green light, when a van turned right in front of me. I yelled and the driver stopped after a couple seconds, but I couldn’t stop in time to avoid my arm hitting her right rearview mirror. (I don’t know if it counts as a close call since there was a collision, but I didn’t fall and wasn’t injured except for a bruise on my arm.)

After she stopped she started yelling at me and I yelled back at her–she said I wasn’t in the bike lane (there isn’t a bike lane there) and that I should have seen her turn signal (I was riding at the same rate as traffic, so I didn’t see it–I think that’s also why she didn’t see me). We argued for a couple minutes and then she said she’d pull over so we could talk about it out of the way of traffic, which she did, and then asked if I was OK and if I needed her information. I said I was all right and left it at that–it seemed like she’d been trying to drive carefully and just hadn’t seen me next to her van.

Suggested improvements

A dedicated right-turn lane might help.

Ed. note: I would disagree. A dedicated right-turn lane would move the conflict point slightly, but maintain a conflict point. I think that drivers need better training and it needs reinforcing that a bicyclist will be on any street at any time and deserve a look to the right and to the mirror. 

Bicyclist gets the horn and screaming treatment on Addison by Lane Tech High School

Location

2500 W. Addison St. Chicago, IL 60618
47th, Alderman Pawar

Type

Harassing driver
Passed closely

What happened

Driver in a minivan laid on his horn and screamed at me on Addison while I was traveling eastbound. This street has no shoulder at all and cyclists have no choice but to take the lane. Traffic jams when cars stop to turn left into McDonald’s. Once able to pass, the driver passed me with maybe a foot of clearance and proceeded to swerve towards me in a threatening manner several times before he was stopped by traffic and I was able to get ahead of him.

Suggested improvements

One lane of Addison between California and Western should be turned into a clearly marked bike lane. Traffic jams from left-turning vehicles could be resolved with green arrow cycles on the stoplights. A bike lane might also prevent parents from illegally parking their vehicles in the right lane to drop off kids at Lane Tech.

I wouldn't advise people to bike on Addison like this city sign doesEd. note: A sign installed by the City of Chicago several years ago recommends that people bicycle east on Addison from California through this area to reach Wrigley Field (see photo). As the development of the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 continued it became clear that there are few comfortable routes to cross the Chicago River (and expressways).

I use Montrose or Belmont to cross the river and I would never use Addison or Irving Park. Belmont is very similar to Addison in that it has four travel lanes and no bike lanes, but for a much shorter segment.