Monthly Archives: August 2014

Pace bus operator passes bicyclist closely, says bicyclist swerved in front of his bus

Location

900 S Damen Chicago, IL
Ward 27, Alderman Walter Burnett

Type

Passed closely

What happened

The operator of a large Pace bus and I were passing each other southbound on Damen Avenue with no incident. On the last pass though, near Taylor, the bus passed within less than the legally required minimum of 3 feet. I was riding in the designated bike lane, saw the bus approaching at this distance, but was unable to maneuver any further to the right. I caught up with the bus at 18th Street, knocked on his window and made motions toward my eyes and his. He opened the door and let me speak. I told him he passed me within the legal 3 feet, asked him if he saw me, and told him how he had put my life in danger. He acknowledged none of this, told me he did not see me, and accused me of swerving in front of him.

Suggested improvements

The issue was not with the location, it was the driver. Besides this incidence, I routinely encounter aggressive driving by Pace vehicles, and try my best to avoid them more than any other professional drivers in the city. The improvement needs to come from within their organization. Training for their drivers should include information about being respectable towards cyclists and obeying the laws pertaining to them.

Ed. note: It seems there was a “they came out of nowhere” attitude on the part of the bus operator, which is quite common when motorists put bicyclist in danger. I’d like to find this “nowhere” to see where all these bicyclists are coming from. 

Bicyclist on Clark Street almost rammed into by hospital courtesy van and driver

Location

2424 N Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614
Alderman Michele Smith, 43rd Ward

Type

Abrupt stop

What happened

I was riding in the shared bike/bus lane, southbound on Clark Street a bit after 8 am. In advance of the Fullerton/Clark intersection, I could see that there were a bunch of cars queued up to turn left. They were far back enough on the street that they were blocking any cars whose drivers wanted to proceed straight. At this point, the bike/bus lane is still clearly marked and divided from traffic, and is marked that way for another 50-60 feet.

Riding toward the intersection, I saw the Advocate Illinois Masonic Patient Courtesy van driver start to pull into the bike lane, in an apparent attempt to get around the jam of left-turning cars. Thinking they were going for it, I prepared to brake hard, but the van stopped, and I thought they saw me. I was wrong. As I pulled even with the front windows of the van, the driver hit the gas and the van jumped toward me and into the bike lane. I was able to swerve to the right and avoid the van. I yelled, “NO!” and pointed directly at the driver.

After I passed the van, the driver finished driving into the bike lane for the remaining 50-60 feet before the merged into the other lanes and pulled up behind me at the Southbound Fullerton/Clark red light. The light changed and the driver came up next to me, yelled something through the open passenger-side window. I couldn’t hear what they said, but their face looked none too friendly. I said, “Do you understand how bike lanes work?!?” but the driver was already gone, accelerating further down Clark street.

Suggested improvements

Short of building a buffered lane, which would mean it was no longer a rush hour bus lane, I’m not really sure.

Bicyclist right-hooked by taxi driver in River North

Location

Type

Right hook
Abrupt stop

What happened

I was riding eastbound in the bike lane on Illinois approaching a stale green light at State St. A cab driver from my left sped up to make it through the green light and abruptly made a right turn in front of me. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.

Suggested improvements

None provided.

Ed. note: call 311 (or go online) and report the cab number to the operator. The city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection takes seriously the dangerous and poor quality behavior that professionally licensed chauffeurs exhibit. 

Motorist looking for parking, instead of for bicyclist in bike lane on Kedize

Location

1945 N Kedzie Ave Chicago, IL
1st Ward, Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno

Type

Right hook

What happened

Riding westbound down Armitage, I was in the left-turn lane to turn left onto Kedzie. I pulled behind a driver in that lane, and when the light changed, he turned left into the traffic lane, and I turned left into the bike lane.

On Kedzie, the driver moved slowly enough that I pulled up alongside him in the bike lane. He then turned into the bike lane, heading towards me. I yelled, he noticed me, and made an apologetic gesture.

Suggested improvements 

Enforcement of motor vehicles that drive and park in the bike lanes. This driver behaved as drivers who are looking for parking do. However, there were no available parking spaces near the sport where he almost hit me. Had there been, I would have been aware that he was likely to turn and would not have put myself in a spot to get hit if he did so.

Therefore, I believe that he intended to pull into the bike lane to park there. Residents on this stretch of Kedzie are in the habit of using the bike lane as a loading/standing zone. This incident illustrates how that behavior is not just inconvenient to cyclists, but it is dangerous to them.