Monthly Archives: July 2014

Pregnant Divvy rider almost gets run into riding in Halsted bike lane

Location

1900 S Halsted Street, Chicago, IL
25th Ward, Alderman Solis

Type

Right hook
Had to stop abruptly

What happened

I was biking north on Halsted headed toward the Divvy station around the corner on 18th. Northbound traffic was backed up from south of Canalport – normal for this time of day. The driver that swerved into the bike lane and, consequently, me was probably trying to get around a car waiting to turn left onto 19th through a gap in the similarly congested southbound traffic.

I screamed loudly enough that other drivers (including cops in a southbound police car) looked over, but was too busy swerving out of the way to see if the driver noticed me.

My left foot was scuffed from the driver’s front passenger-side tire. Thankfully the heavy-as-a-tank Divvy bike kept me upright. The driver didn’t stop, nor did any other drivers or passersby.

I’m (conspicuously) 8 months’ pregnant, and this close call was enough to guarantee that I won’t be riding until after my baby is born.

Suggested improvements 

The Halsted bike lanes are treacherous, particularly around rush hour. Buses commonly drive in them southbound – I’ve experienced this from Lincoln Park all the way down to Pershing.

Better signage won’t do much – I was maybe 5 feet from a bike lane sign. Better enforcement of traffic laws might help, but I made eye-contact with a cop immediately after the near-miss, and he didn’t intervene. 

Physical separation of the lanes seems like the only long-term intervention that will really make a difference in this location.

Bicyclist passed closely enough on Monroe to get hit by mirror

Location

West Monroe between Canal and Wacker Chicago, IL
42nd Ward, Alderman Reilly

Type

Passed closely

In this instance, the bicyclist was passed so closely they were hit. Chicago and Illinois laws require that motor vehicle drivers pass bicyclists with at least three feet between the bicyclist and the vehicle.

What happened

Biking east on Monroe, just past the river – the driver of a gray minivan (license plate “PJC”) passed on the left and bumped me hard enough to fold in their passenger side mirror, but not hard enough to knock me over or injure me.

Suggested improvements

A bike lane, and refreshed lane markings

Ed. note: I have changed the policy to include “light collisions”, situations where you are impacted/touched by a motor vehicle but where you’re not injured. If you are injured in a collision, you must file a crash report with the police – these situations will not be accepted on Close Calls.

Bicyclist alerts driver to impending collision, driver avoids and revs engine

Location

4100 N California Ave, Chicago, IL
33rd Ward, Alderman Deb Mell

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Heading north on California Ave next to Horner Park and a driver abruptly decided to try and move into the parking lane in order to turn right into one of the Horner Park entrances. They saw me and I yelled and then told them to watch out, which the driver and 5 passengers didn’t seem to like, which led to the driver revving his engine while I continued in front of him north on California.

Suggested improvements

Repainting the shared bike lane markings would be nice. A protected bike lane would be better although I don’t know if the street is wide enough [it would be wide enough if you removed parking from one side, like the park side which has its own parking lots].

Something like California between Addison and Roscoe would be better (well defined lane, maybe buffered).

Bicyclist screams to prevent SUV driver from turning into them

Location

3600 N Southport, Chicago, IL

Type

Right hook

What happened

I’m not sure the exact date/time but it was during an afternoon Cubs game. 

I’m riding northbound on Southport through the Addison intersection. At the intersection, the driver of a black SUV, without using their turn signal, turns right into me, trying to head east on Addison. I scream, and they stop before hitting me. 

The driver and passenger both have Cubs gear on. 

Suggested improvements

Bike way sight lines through intersections. More police monitoring & punishment of drunk drivers during Cubs games in Lakeview.