Tag Archives: Damen Avenue

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. 

Bicyclist almost doored on Damen and driver yells afterwards, “look out”

Location

Damen and Concord Chicago, IL 60613
32nd, Scott Waguespack, soon to be 2nd, Bob Fioretti

Type

Almost doored

What happened

I was heading south on Damen towards Milwaukee and luckily traffic was stopped. A woman threw her car door open. I swerved out of the way and stopped in front of her car to look back at her. She started screaming at me to look out so I left without saying anything.

Suggested improvements

Switch the bike lane and the parked cars so that the cyclists are protected from moving vehicles should a dooring occur. At the very least, wider lanes and better striping on bike lanes so car parkers know that there might be cyclists to look out for.

Ed. note: This part of Damen has extremely faded bike lane striping. 

Driver makes eye contact with bicyclist but proceeds to ignore traffic rules, others’ safety

Type

Other
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: No bicycle markings

Your story: I had an extra special moment the other day. I was riding south on Damen approaching 94th – pretty quiet street with almost no traffic, even at noon on a Saturday. I approached the 4-way stop at 94th and was slowing down to stop. A minivan was approaching from the right. There was NO other traffic.

She looked towards me, appeared to see me, and was slowing down.  I paused very briefly, then started to roll, and then she started to roll right at me – without ever coming to a stop. I yelled out “STOP!” She said “I’m sorry” but still didn’t stop, just swerved behind me, making an extra wide swing to avoid hitting me as she made her right turn.

We were following the same route for the next few blocks.  She stopped at the red light at 95th – only because she had to (stopped traffic ahead). When the light turned green, she continued south on Damen. I slowed so she would pass me quickly and get the hell away from me. She slowed slightly at the next intersection (4-way stop) and blew through it, making a left turn.  I certainly got the impression that she wasn’t paying very much attention to anyone else on the road – unless they were in cars and blocking her path.

Suggested improvements: Give the drivers working brains that actually pay attention to what’s happening around them. This is a 4-way stop with wide-open sightlines. Except for poor visibility due to weather (definitely NOT an issue on Saturday) or lack of lighting and reflectors, there is NO excuse for drivers not seeing bikes here. It was bright and sunny. I could see her face clearly as she approached the intersection. She looked right at me and my presence didn’t register until I was right in front of her.

Driver starts to open door but then looks, sees bicyclist, and closes it

Type

Almost doored
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Bike lane (left of parking lane)

Your story: I was riding behind a friend and we were headed southbound on Damen. A woman in an SUV was parked facing the same direction. She almost opened the door, but saw him and didn’t. As soon as he passed her, she started to open her door. I swerved a little bit and she quickly closed it and looked surprised. We made eye contact, but that was it. I kept riding.

Suggested improvements: A protected bike lane would be great!

Bicyclist walks bike in crosswalk, truck driver blares horn and cuts them off

Type

Passed really closely
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Crosswalk

Your story: I was walking my bike in the crosswalk because this intersection is too dangerous to ride in. I had the walk signal, but a large truck turning left (north onto Damen) let a long blast from the horn and drove through the crosswalk at high speed, missing me by about 10 inches.

Suggested improvements: Protected bike lane, bike signals.

Almost doored on Damen, but driver apologized

Type

Almost doored
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Bike lane (left of parking lane)

Your story: I was riding north on Damen Avenue at night. Lots of bikers on the road. Almost got doored but I swerved out of the way. Just kept riding because I was late and heard the driver apologize as I rode away.

Suggested improvements: smarter drivers, fewer cars, better bike lanes [assuming this to mean bike lanes not in door zones].