Category Archives: Pinch Point

Bicyclist nearly pinched on Milwaukee when impatient driver uses parking lane to bypass stopped car

Location

1324 N Milwaukee Chicago, IL 60622
1st Ward, Alderman Moreno

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Headed southbound on Milwaukee Avenue at Paulina Avenue. Single vehicle was waiting to make a left turn onto northbound Paulina from southbound Milwaukee. Driver of black SUV behind turning vehicle did the usual, swing out wide into the sharrow/parking lane to avoid being inconvenienced for four seconds.

I had nowhere to go except to slam on the brakes. I’m aware of this maneuver developing, so I generally approach it very slowly. Still, with full lights on and going 3 MPH, I was inches away from being pinched between the SUV and the parked cars. Also figures that the driver was on his cell phone during the time.

Suggested improvements

Ban cars on Milwaukee  no more pandering in my suggested improvements. If motorists can’t handle almost killing someone daily, they don’t deserve to use the road. Period.

CTA bus driver passes cyclist, traps them, forces them to abandon bike at curb

Type

Passed closely

Location

2600 W Armitage, at Rockwell
1st Ward, Alderman Moreno

What happened

I was traveling eastbound on Armitage just east of Rockwell street. The Chicago Transit Authority bus in question began to pass me on my left, and then began to turn right while it was alongside me, trapping me between the curb and the bus. I yelled, “hey! hey! hey!”, but the bus continued moving rightward, and I had to jump off of my bike and pull it up onto the curb to avoid being run over by the bus. This was especially dangerous because there was snow and slush packed up against the curb and on the curb, and if I had slipped, I may have gone under the bus’s wheels. It was daylight, I was riding with my lights on, and I was wearing reflective clothing, so if the bus driver did not see me, it is because she was not looking. 

Suggested improvements for this location: I agree with other comments on this site that CTA drivers need to be better trained that bikes are not the same as stationary obstacles – that they need to be passed with more distance.

Driver doesn’t see or understand lane-separating markings on Albion

Type

Passed closely

What happened

I was crossing Sheridan and riding on the Albion contraflow lane to turn right onto Lakewood. Driver was moving their vehicle forward while straddling the contraflow bike lane lines. I repeatedly pointed at her lane of traffic hoping to point out that there is a separating line. I had to ride as close as possible to the north side parked cars to avoid being run into, driver never left the position of straddling the line until turning onto Sheridan.

Suggested improvements for this location: Add the road mounted lights that are designed to illuminate bike lane lines [as seen on Milwaukee Avenue one block north and south of Grand Avenue]. Improve lane markings as they are not reflective and nearly invisible.

Anxious driver cuts off bicyclist legally passing on the right

Type

Right hook (car turned right, across your path)
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Sharrows (bicycle symbol with two chevrons)

Your story: Eastbound traffic on Lawrence was backed up from Broadway to about Clark St, and I was passing the stopped traffic on the right via the shared bike lane with ample room. A driver in a white- or light-colored wagon abruptly pulled into my path in order to turn right on Beacon St (he had previously been stopped, and I did not see a signal). I was forced to brake hard to avoid a collision.  After I shouted (and, admittedly, cursed) to get the driver’s attention, he slowed down long enough to scream his own set of obscenities at me before speeding off.

Suggested improvements: Infrastructure on Lawrence (east of Ravenswood, at least) seems adequate; shared lanes are marked and this is the first close call I’ve had on that route.  This seems to be an issue of driver awareness and education, particularly since bicyclists’ right to pass stopped traffic on the right was explicitly made legal this summer.

Editor’s note: Governor Quinn signed legislation that clarified existing legislation about whether or not bicyclists can pass on the right slower or stopped traffic. They always could but the legislation, which applied only to motorcyclists, was confusing. This means that the daily maneuver of a majority of people cycling – “filtering” to the front of a line of stopped cars – is legal.

Pinch point and sunken sewer cover cause for almost being doored on Milwaukee

Type

Almost doored

Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Sharrows (bicycle symbol with two chevrons)

Your story: Just your typical almost dooring on Milwaukee. This happened right around the stretch of SB Milwaukee, just past division where there is no bike lane and the bike lane is about to start. I’m not even sure if a sharrow is technically there or not. Was moving with traffic, had blinking light on at night and nearly lost it to an inconsiderate motorist exiting their vehicle. Few cars with me, but the motorist behind me (thankfully) was sharing the road with me and giving me space so I was able to swerve and avoid the door.

Suggested improvements: Continuous bike lane on lower Milwaukee. At least better road markings or removal of parking from near major intersections where the bike lanes tend to disappear within 100 feet of them until bike lanes start back up. Crossing Division from SB Milwaukee always has that pinch point right there with traffic on the left, giant, uneven manhole in the middle and parking cars on the right. Hate it every morning and I’m always one of those cyclists who tries to get the jump on the light to have room to make it through safely.

Pinch point on Harrison on bridge over the Chicago River

Type

1. Passed really closely
2. Passed with room, but then merged in front of me
3. Swerved into your path and then out of your path
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: No bicycle markings

Your story: This westbound side of Harrison, right before Wacker, gets a fair amount of bike traffic during rush hour. There are concrete strips on both edges of the bridge, but the eastbound one leads right into a single traffic lane. Cars often come flying up from behind, only to slam on their brakes and honk because a cyclist is in the lane in front of them. It’s consistently a problem with cars trying to beat the cyclists to the single lane or crowd cyclists out of the way – probably the worst spot on my entire commute.

Suggested improvements: Speed enforcement. Shared lane signage. Marked bicycle signage on cement strips and the “priority lane” markings on single lane that continues through the intersection.