Category Archives: Abrupt Stop

Bicyclist nearly right-hooked on Kedzie at North Ave

Location

Kedzie Avenue at North Avenue, southbound
Ward 26, Alderman Roberto Maldonaldo

Type

Right hook
Had to stop abruptly

What happened

The driver of a gray Dodge SUV turned right onto North Avenue from Kedzie Boulevard on a green light but didn’t yield for me at the intersection. I crept to the intersection and they paced, just before they right-hooked me did they seem to fully realize the significance of the situation. As I stopped before the impending collision I was met with stares as though by being there i was somehow breaking a law. Driver and lady passenger stared contemptuously, safe in their steel tonnage after having come within inches of collision, then sped off…

Suggested improvements 

Join the two halves of the bike lane by dotted lines and paint the word yield on either side (not in the bike lane)

Editor’s note: The bike lane ends 150 feet before reaching North Avenue in favor of marking a right-turn lane for motorists.

Impatient motorists gains a few feet in the queue but not before nearly striking cyclist

Location

900 N Milwaukee Ave (south of Augusta)
27th Ward, Alderman Burnett

Type

Right hook

What happened

Typical rush hour traffic on southbound Milwaukee Ave: cars stopped, backed up in the main travel lane while a line of bikes was moving in the bike lane. The driver of a purple van was stopped in the line of cars. Instead of waiting, he swerved right out into the bike lane, nearly striking the cyclist ahead of me. He drove in the bike lane past a few cars and then merged back into the main travel lane.

Suggested improvements

An actual barrier or grade-separation of this “protected” bike lane would make it less convenient for drivers to use it as a passing lane.

Driver stops just in time to avoid right-hooking bicyclist on Desplaines Street

Location

120 N Desplaines Street, Chicago, IL

Type

Right hook
Abrupt stop

What happened

I was cycling southbound on Desplaines Street when I was nearly right hooked by a driver turning their car into a parking lot. My loud yell caught the driver’s attention and thankfully they  stopped the Mercedes in time.

Suggested improvements

There are no signs here to indicate to a driver they are about to cross an additional lane of bicycle traffic while turning. Some sort of warning sign and/or green paint as used elsewhere in the city could be helpful to prevent this in the future.

Bicyclist has to stop abruptly to avoid SUV turning in front of view-blocking FedEx truck

Location

701 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL
Ward 27, Alderman Burnett

Type

Abrupt stop

What happened

Was cycling northbound on Milwaukee in the marked bike lane. First had to navigate around illegally parked delivery truck completely blocking the bike lane leaving a totally blind intersection to cross through. Then, the driver of a large SUV makes a left turn into a parking lot and unexpectedly stops while completely blocking the bike lane.

Slamming on the brakes is the only alternative here due to another illegally parked delivery truck which is blocking the only other safe exit path from this situation.

Suggested improvements

For this location and others would be designated parking areas for delivery vehicles that don’t block traffic lanes or bike lanes and are located in such a way that don’t create obstructed views of intersections. Also, ticketing of illegally parked vehicles could help with the illegal parking.

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. 

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 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 stops abruptly on North Avenue to avoid colliding with driver exiting parking space

Location

2200 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL
32nd Ward, Alderman Scott Waguespack

Type

Car turning (leaving parking space)
Abrupt stop

What happened

Your A driver of a parallel-parked car to my left pulled out of the space without signaling, nearly running into me. I yelled “hey! hey!” while braking and avoided the collision. He stopped his car to apologize, stating he didn’t see me because his mirrors were covered with water (it was raining at the time).

Suggested improvements

Bike-car separation is really the only thing I know of.

Bicyclist slams on brakes to avoid hitting inattentive driver on Milwaukee

Location

1077 N Milwaukee Ave
27th Ward, Alderman Burnett

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Cyclist directly in front of me was traveling northwest on Milwaukee Avenue in the bike lane when a driver pulled out of the parking lot without looking. There were parked cars to the right of us, and solid traffic to the left. The driver pulled out in front of the cyclist, blocking the bike lane, causing the cyclist to slam on his brakes to avoid running into the side of the car. The driver was on his cell phone, glanced at the cyclist, and then sped out into traffic, turning left onto Milwaukee. No words or gestures were exchanged, and cyclist continued on and was not injured. The vehicle was an older model black SUV.

Suggested improvements

Signage could be added at the driveway, indicating that cyclists may be present.

Ed. note: This driver, and all of those who use this parking lot, should know better because of the 1000s of cyclists that pass here in both directions daily. Also, the city should improve the sight lines here by removing car parking on either side of the driveways.