Category Archives: Car Turning

Cop right-hooks cyclist on Montrose and yells obscenity

Location

4632 W. Montrose Chicago, IL 60641

Type

Right hook
Harassing driver

What happened

Was traveling westbound on Montrose. Saw car come up on right, thought it was a cab. It was a Chicago police department car. It sped up to turn right in front of me. I had to brake a bit to avoid the collision. I said “Really?” loudly, and the officer stopped post-turn, rolled his window down, and told me to “fuck off.”

Suggested improvements

There is street parking just east of there, and the entrance ramp to the Kennedy west. Bike lanes would help on Montrose, but perhaps removing the parking or putting a dedicated turn lane for Knox might help. Many drivers get in the right lane just before Cicero as Montrose opens, only to have to bunch back up at the parking before Knox.

Bicyclist right-hooked on Milwaukee as driver turns into fast food lot

Location

2246 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, il 60647
1st Ward, Alderman Moreno

Type

Right hook

What happened

I was biking south on Milwaukee Ave [which has a conventional bike lane] at a consistent speed.  There was a cyclist in front of me by two car lengths, and so I was matching their speed. The driver of a blue SUV, an older model, attempted to turn into the parking lot of Cafeteria Marianao slightly ahead of me, completely cutting me off. I yelled “HEY” and started braking immediately. If I had not, the vehicle would have hit me. He stopped, and when I stopped to look at him, he began screaming about how I biked too fast. The situation did not seem safe, so I left.

Suggested improvements

[author didn’t provide]

SUV-driving police officer right-hooks cyclist on 31st (on video)

Location

31st and Michigan
3rd Ward, Alderman Pat Dowell

Type

Right hook

What happened

I was cycling eastbound on 31st Street, right hooked at Michigan Avenue by Chicago Police Department SUV. No honk, no words, no clear observation/acknowledgement of me by the officer driving the vehicle.

Suggested improvements

Submitter provided none

Ed. note. This is the same incident that you may have previously seen on My Bike Advocate.

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 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. 

The Fascist Automobile vs. Bicycle Rebellion

I won’t editorialize much on this website. As you know, it documents all the crashes that almost happened. It’s a tool to keep tabs on some of the reasons why people don’t take up bicycling in Chicago at a good rate.

Hart Noecker writes “Rebel Metropolis” from Portland, Oregon, and they’re not kidding around when they discuss all the ways that automobiles are terrible for cities. It’s a voice that’s not heard much. In Chicago, for all the ways that bicycling is being encouraged, there are not equivalent, or even a fraction of, ways to discourage running people over with cars, polluting, and causing the city to spend millions on road maintenance without full reimbursement.

Here’re the first two paragraphs of their latest blog post:

For months I haven’t had a hostile altercation with a motorist while riding my 12-speed 1987 Peugeot Corbier. It’s uncanny. In the war between bikes and cars, this cycling soldier hasn’t seen much action. Nor have I heard many tales of defying death from my bicycling comrades of late.

Granted, winter has just ended. Warm weather means more bikes in the street thereby making riders more visible, but a rising heat index can also elevate stress levels and increase incidents of road rage.

Keep reading.

Bicyclist must slow down to avoid being hit as driver doesn’t yield

Location

774 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL
27th Ward, Burnett

Type

Left hook

What happened

I was approaching the intersection Milwaukee has with Ogden, going southeast. As is typical at this intersection, as CDOT hasn’t fixed it despite the issue being well known for years, northwest-facing drivers who want to turn left from Milwaukee onto southwest Ogden receive a red signal before southeast Milwaukee traffic receives a red signal. These drivers then make their left turn while oncoming traffic still has the right of way. I don’t blame them for this. The intersection and the signal doesn’t tell them how to behave.

Suggested improvements

This seems easy: add a left turn signal or ban left turns.

Bicyclist speeds up at Milwaukee/Chicago to avoid getting run over by cement truck

Location

802 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL
27th Ward, Alderman Burnett

Type

Right hook

What happened

I was biking southbound in the bike lane going through the intersection just after the green. I had just crossed the crosswalk when a cement truck on my left, preparing to make a right turn onto Chicago Avenue, started merging into the bike lane (of course there was no turn signal). The cyclist in front of me was cleared, but I was not yet. I sprinted to get out of the way.

Suggested improvements

There should really be a bike box in front of the turn lane here. Turning vehicles are almost always hanging out in the bike lane and drivers are not super mindful. I’d feel better if I could always be way in front of traffic stopped at the light.

Bicyclist on Milwaukee Ave almost right-hooked on strip-malled section of street

Location

2240 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
1st Ward, Alderman Moreno

Type

Right hook

What happened

I was in the bike lane and the driver next to me began to turn right into the bike lane, on a path to strike me. I yelled “hey! hey! hey!” while braking and he finally saw me and stopped turning.

Suggested improvements

Protected bike lanes.

Bicyclist left-hooked by driver who ignored red left-turn signal on Dearborn

Location

400 N Dearborn Street
42nd Ward, Alderman Reilly

Type

Left hook

What happened

Traveling north in the Dearborn PBL. Bicycle traffic signal was clearly green. Left turning motorist from N Dearborn (onto W Kinzie), decided to ignore the red left turn signal and almost kill me (left hook). I was already turning left, so my reduced speed is pretty much the only thing that got me through it.

Suggested improvements

Given this intersections configuration, if motorists can’t be bothered to obey traffic signals I’m not sure what other options there are instead of banning cars from N. Dearborn. A passive solution would be to get CDOT to install red light cameras for illegal left turners at all Dearborn PBL locations considering one sees this occur about once a week still.