Category Archives: Passed Closely

Bicyclist in terrifying incident with CTA bus driver who veers into them at bus stop

Location

1650 N Clark Street
Alderman Michelle Smith, 43rd Ward

Type

Passed closely

What happened

A southbound CTA 36 bus #1308 driven by a late 40’s white female passed myself and another cyclist very closely just before the Clark and LaSalle intersection. The cyclist in front of me was driven into an open door of a parked car. At that point I noted the number on the back of the bus, planning to file a report to CTA and went on my way, passing the bus at Clark and LaSalle. Approaching the red light at Clark and North, the bus driver again started to pass me very closely.

There is absolutely no way she didn’t know I was there. As the bus was at the less than halfway point past me with less than a bus length to go before the stop, she veered towards the stop with about 1 foot of space between the bus and the curb, with me in between. As this was happening, I was thinking the driver would slow for me to pass because it seemed inconceivable that the driver wouldn’t wait 3 seconds for me to reach the light.

I was screaming for her to stop and banging on the windows of the bus but she kept veering over towards the curb pinning me between the bus and the curb. I fell over onto the curb with my leg actually under the bus. I got myself and my bike up on the sidewalk (light still red) and the driver quickly closed the door so I couldn’t get on.

I banged on the door but she ignored me so I know she knows what she did. I noted the driver’s appearance and had already gotten the number on the bus from before when she passed so decided it best not to interact further and again passed the bus leaving it far behind.

Suggested improvements

Add PBL’s or at least some paint so drivers know there will be cyclists. Though in this case there is no way she missed seeing me. CTA drivers need to be certain that they have cleared bikers before veering towards the stop as well as pass with a minimum of 3 feet of space between.

Ed. note: This submitter has notified the Chicago Transit Authority of this incident, using their feedback@transitchicago.com contact point. 

Bicyclist gets buzzed on Franklin while riding Divvy towards a station

Location

450 S Franklin Street
Alderman Solis, 25th Ward

Type

Passed closely
As a reminder, Chicago code and Illinois statute require that motorists pass bicyclists with at least three feet of space between.

What happened

I was riding north on Franklin Street towards a Divvy station when the driver of a dark gray SUV (license plate #QLDOG) sped up from behind and steered towards me in an attempt to intimidate. They sped off, running yellow/red light at Van Buren.

Suggested improvements

Include a bike lane on east and west side of street.

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. 

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.

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.

Nissan driver tells bicyclist riding on Franklin St. to “get the hell off the road”

Location

646 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL
42nd Ward, Alderman Reilly

Type

Passed closely

What happened

A driver in a gold/champagne-colored, early 2000s Nissan Altima passed too close to me (~1-2 inches of separation) northbound on Franklin, just south of Erie. I yelled “HEY!” when the driver got too close. We both stopped at the red light at Erie, at which point the driver rolled down his window, hung up his cell phone call, and told me to “Get the hell off the road.” I was pretty worked up, so when I angrily told him that he had to give me 3 feet at minimum, he insisted that he was right and I had to get out of his way and that bikes should get out of the street.

I asked (still pretty angrily and adrenaline fueled) him if he’d like to talk to a cop about it, even offering to show him exactly which law he violated with the Bike Laws app. He told me to fuck off and said, “I’ll turn you into one of those white bikes with flowers on them.”

When the light finally changed, the driver sped off straight, I chose to turn right on to Erie rather than deal with encountering him again.

Suggested improvements

Just any bike infrastructure would be nice, really. [There aren’t] even sharrow markings on that part of the street.

The road is also very narrow as it’s under the El tracks, so I think adjusting/removing parking along that part of the street would also help.

Bicyclist gets brushed by knowing driver on Pulaski Road

Location

3881 N Pulaski Rd,  Chicago
30th Ward, Alderman Ariel Reboyras

Type

Passed closely

What happened

Proceeding through intersection after the green light towards Irving Park Road. The intersection is messy because of the Kennedy ramp. There was a large truck on my left. I was trying to get ahead to where there were two defined lanes. 

While biking with the truck on my left, a guy driving in a white sedan, with a female passenger tries to squeeze between the truck and myself, with about 2 inches of room between us. His right side view mirror hit my arm, but I didn’t lose balance. We both were stopped at the next light at Irving Park Road. I knocked on his window to let him know that his car hit me. He said “I know, I’m sorry”.

Suggested improvements

Bike lane, painted road

Driver buzzes bicyclist on Logan trying to cross Western

Location

Logan and Western (under the viaduct), Chicago, IL
1st Ward, Alderman Moreno (according to 2012 remap)

Type

Passed closely

What happened

As we progressed west on the boulevard under the viaduct, I took the right lane. A driver behind me hit the gas and zoomed past me, moving back into the right lane and passed my girlfriend with only a foot or so to spare.

Suggested improvements

Protected bike lane across Western and under the expressway. This is a long time coming – a cyclist was killed at this intersection five or six years ago.

Ed. note: This is a frequently problematic intersection for people to cross on bikes, and yes, as the submitter points out, there is a ghost bike here representing the death of Tyler Fabeck in 2008. The intersection is a key link between a very large residential and a very large shopping area (including Target and Strack & Van Til) with zero alternatives (save for a double-long route north to Elston and then southeast to the shopping area).

From 2005-2012 there have been 10 injuries to bicyclists and 2 injuries to pedestrians (reported). This is low compared to other “big” (as in geometry) intersections because, I believe, the bicycle traffic is low due to avoidance. This is also a dangerous place for people driving.

Bicyclist side-swiped by Comcast van driver on Lincoln Avenue

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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.