Category Archives: Passed Closely

Impatient driver speedily passes another in oncoming lane narrowly missing bicyclist

Location

651 S Wells St, Chicago, IL
2nd Ward, Bob Fioretti, soon to be 25th Ward, Danny Solis

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Traveling soutbound on S Wells St with blinking lights. The first vehicle was traveling northbound on Wells mid block at approximately 20mph. Second driver behind it thought that was to slow and swerved around first vehicle at a high rate of speed, greater than 35mph. As he swerved out it was directly at me. He missed me by about two feet. If it weren’t for my slight evade, I would have probably died and that’s not an exaggeration.

Suggested improvements

Traffic calming everywhere in the city, where roads encourage speeding. 

Bicyclist gets the horn and screaming treatment on Addison by Lane Tech High School

Location

2500 W. Addison St. Chicago, IL 60618
47th, Alderman Pawar

Type

Harassing driver
Passed closely

What happened

Driver in a minivan laid on his horn and screamed at me on Addison while I was traveling eastbound. This street has no shoulder at all and cyclists have no choice but to take the lane. Traffic jams when cars stop to turn left into McDonald’s. Once able to pass, the driver passed me with maybe a foot of clearance and proceeded to swerve towards me in a threatening manner several times before he was stopped by traffic and I was able to get ahead of him.

Suggested improvements

One lane of Addison between California and Western should be turned into a clearly marked bike lane. Traffic jams from left-turning vehicles could be resolved with green arrow cycles on the stoplights. A bike lane might also prevent parents from illegally parking their vehicles in the right lane to drop off kids at Lane Tech.

I wouldn't advise people to bike on Addison like this city sign doesEd. note: A sign installed by the City of Chicago several years ago recommends that people bicycle east on Addison from California through this area to reach Wrigley Field (see photo). As the development of the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 continued it became clear that there are few comfortable routes to cross the Chicago River (and expressways).

I use Montrose or Belmont to cross the river and I would never use Addison or Irving Park. Belmont is very similar to Addison in that it has four travel lanes and no bike lanes, but for a much shorter segment. 

Bicyclist nearly hit as drivers use bike lane on the right to pass stopped car

Location

2000 W. Roscoe St, Chicago, IL
32nd Ward, Alderman Waguespack

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

A driver was waiting to turn left from westbound Roscoe into the Speedway gas station (at the southwest corner of the intersection with Damen).

Other drivers were swerving around the turning car to pass it in the bike lane. I was riding in the westbound bike lane, and was nearly hit.

Suggested improvements

Protected bike lane on Roscoe.

Driver buzzes bicyclist on Clark Street “with just a few inches between us”

Location

1925 N Clark St Chicago, IL
43rd Ward, Alderman Michele Smith

Type

Passed closely

What happened

A maroon Nissan Sentra passed me with just a few inches between us. This occurred in the right lane, just north of the Lincoln/Clark intersection, going south. The driver didn’t honk, just pulled up right beside me and started to pass me. I yelled, “HEY! MOVE! OVER!” and the driver did nothing.

At the light, there was enough time for me to knock (gently, I swear) on the window and tell the driver they have to give cyclists at least two feet of room when they pass. The driver and his passenger ignored me completely while I said that, stared straight ahead. After I turned right on to Lincoln, then left onto Wells, the driver caught up with me and stayed just off to my left and behind me until I hit the intersection of Wells and Chicago, at which point the car traffic was such that they lost me.

I’m not sure what their motivation was for following me, perhaps they were just taking the same route and were now afraid to pass me after our initial interaction.

Suggested improvements

That stretch of Clark after the bike lanes disappear has always resulted in bad car/bike interactions for me, especially once Clark expands south of Dickens. Add that to the potholes there and it results in some very close passing. My only suggestion would be an actual lane, or least better marked sharrows.

Taxi driver buzzes two cyclists, doesn’t understand rules of the road

Location

1600 N Clark St
43rd Ward, Alderman Michele Smith

Type

Passed closely
Harassing driver

What happened

The same taxi driver passed myself and another cyclist with about eight inches to spare two times in a row where both of us had to swerve into parked cars to get out of his way. Clark Street at this location is quite wide and there was plenty of space to pass safely.

When I pulled up next to him at Clark and North I asked him to roll down his window and requested that he not pass cyclists so close. His response was “This is not a bicycle path. It is illegal for you to bike here”.

I told him that legally we are allowed to bike on the streets and that the law was that he has to pass with at least three feet of space. At this point he started yelling at me “How much taxes do you pay? I pay taxes.”

I’m not sure where he was going with his class-based argument. Was he implying that people who pay more taxes are more entitled to public space? I informed him that I pay property tax, income tax, sales tax and though I rarely use it I have a car which I also pay tax on. At that point I could see I was getting nowhere and I was getting pretty steamed so I just left.

Do taxi drivers have to take some sort of test indicating that they understand road rules before getting a license? It seems that this guy really had no idea that cyclists are legally allowed to bike on the street.

Ed. note: Taxi drivers indeed take a public chauffeur course at Harold Washington College before the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will issue them a chauffeur permit. 

Suggested improvements

[None provided]

Bicyclist maneuvers to avoid getting hit by driver swerving into bike lane to bypass traffic

Location

1057 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
27th Ward, Alderman Burnett

Type

Left hook
Passed closely

What happened

I was riding northbound in the Milwaukee Avenue bike lane and had just gone through the green at Noble Street when the driver of a black VW Beetle cut across my path and into the bike lane in an attempt to circumvent the stopped traffic (backed up from Ashland). I was able to swerve towards the curb to avoid collision. I yelled as I was maneuvering around the car to alert the driver to my presence.

Suggested improvements

Protected bike lanes and ticketing drivers who make dangerous maneuvers during rush hour.

Bicyclist speeds up to avoid getting creamed by truck driven in the bike lane

Location

400 W Kinzie (at Kingsbury), Chicago, IL
42nd Ward, Alderman Reilly

Type

Passed closely

What happened

A smaller food delivery truck started merging into the eastbound Kinzie bike lane immediately after I crossed the bridge at Kinzie and the river. I had to swerve right and sprint to avoid the truck’s tires which were about 1 foot into the lane. When I cleared the truck I looked back at the driver who seemed to be annoyed to see me.

Steven’s note: this bike lane is now over three years and has no changes or upgrades since installation in May 2011. It had some restriping but with paint and not thermoplastic so the wear is noticeable. Most of the white, flexible posts are gone. At the point where this person had their close call there were no more posts and the bike lane was half filled with snow, as they mention below.

I rode by here several hours later and noticed some of the confusion this dilapidated situation and insufficient design causes: a driver drove in the bike lane all the way up to the stop sign, to the right of the three remaining posts (the ones that block the entry have been missing for months). 

Suggested improvements

It would be rad if the city did a better job of clearing the snow pile right at the east end of the bridge so I had more room to avoid this. Additionally, it would be helpful if the barrier poles which have been steadily were replaced to create a physical protection. I see people driving in the white here a lot.

Bicyclist swerves to avoid oncoming car and falls into snow drift

Location

1009 W. Ardmore Chicago, IL
48th Ward, Harry Osterman

Type

Abrupt stop/swerve

What happened

I was traveling westbound on Ardmore (towards Kenmore) just west of the intersection of Ardmore and Sheridan while a driver was traveling east on Ardmore.

 

[Ardmore is an eastbound street for cars, but a two-way street for bikes, with a shared lane eastbound and a contraflow bike lane westbound.]

I was as far to the right as I could safely bike, given the snowy conditions. Normally, the other people drive slowly to pass safely, but in this case the driver was accelerating towards me, probably to make the green light. The driver did not give me enough room to safely pass, and I was forced to swerve into the snowbank, causing me to fall. I believe that if I would have stayed my course, I would have been in a head-on collision with the car. I would guess the speed of the car was roughly 20 MPH, and do not think I would have fared well if hit. I would have called the police, but the driver was through the intersection before I was able to gather his license plate information.

Suggested improvements

Build a cul-de-sac on the west side of Ardmore and Sheridan with a bicycle cut-through, to keep Ardmore from being a through street for motorized traffic. Keep the intersection signal for Lakefront Trail cyclists to cross Sheridan.

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 maneuvers quickly to avoid getting hit by motorist’s sudden lane change

Type

Right hook or left hook
Had to stop abruptly

Location

801 N Milwaukee Ave (at Chicago Ave)
27th Ward, Alderman Burnett

What happened

A southbound motorist in thru lane on Milwaukee Ave had their lane partially blocked by vehicle turning left onto eastbound Chicago Ave. Motorist clearly had more important things to do than be inconvenienced for three seconds so they decided to swerve into my path. Dangerous maneuver by me, moving right into the right turn lane to avoid motorist.

Improvements

Lane markings and paint have reduced visibility at night and when coated in evaporated salt. Maybe some of those embedded lights?

Or, for that tiny pinch point middle bike lane, barrier preventing motorists from making last second lane choices. (Similar to the cluster at Milwaukee/Augusta/expressway.)