Tag Archives: Dearborn Street

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 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.

Dearborn bicyclist almost hit by cabbie trying to reach new customer

Type

Had to stop abruptly

What happened

Traveling north on Dearborn in the bike lane. Man on sidewalk was hailing a cab – cabbie noticed him and sharply veered into the bike lane. I was able to avoid being hit by braking quickly and veering to my left into the southboud bike lane. Man did not make a move to enter the cab until I had safely gotten around the cab. Cab driver should have seen me. Also made no apology for almost hitting me.

Suggested improvements for this location: Police enforcement!

Ed. note: I would also suggest adding actual protection in the form of concrete bollards, curbs, or a raised bike lane. 

Left-turn boxes on Dearborn need better visibility and understanding

Type

Other

What happened

I was heading southbound in the Dearborn Street two-way protected bike lane with a green light and pulled left into the green left-hand turn box for cyclists who need to turn east onto Lake Street. A driver heading north on Dearborn in the left-hand lane honked, screamed, and made a “what are you thinking!?” gesture (with both hands off the wheel). The driver was a middle-aged Caucasian female with short curly hair in a maroon SUV.

Suggested improvements for this location: I assume the driver either couldn’t see the green box for cyclists or doesn’t understand what it is, and thought I was about to pull out into traffic. It would be great to have vertical signage as well as the painted ground–perhaps a post on the southeast corner of the box could alert drivers in the left-hand northbound lane to expect cyclists to be stopped there.

Editor’s note: I think a block of concrete would work pretty well as a street divider, perhaps with some short scrub.

Bicyclist yells and car passenger quickly shuts door, avoiding a crash

Type

Almost doored
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Left-side bike lane (right of parking lane)

Your story: I was riding home from work on Monday, July 15, 2013 around 5:15pm. I take the  bike lane on Dearborn Street north to Walton, then head west on Walton to Clark Street and take that to Lincoln. North of Kedzie Street, the Dearborn cycle track becomes a one-way bike lane on the left side of the street with parked cars against the curb to a rider’s left hand side. As I neared my turn onto Walton, the passenger side door of a black sedan swung open. I immediately slowed my bicycle and yelled out. The passenger quickly grabbed the door and shut it before I made contact or swerved into the road. I came less than two feet from hitting the door. Thankfully, quick reactions from both of us allowed me to safely complete my ride home.

Suggested improvements: The unorthodox nature of parked cars on the left side of a cyclist calls for a buffer between the parking spots and the bike lane. If the passenger and I had and extra 12-24 inches of space, we could have avoided our scare.

Location is approximate. 

Driver tells bicyclists to “get off the road” on Washington Street

Type

1. Passed really closely
2. Swerved into your path and then out of your path
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: No bicycle markings

Your story: Another cyclist and I were riding eastbound on Washington Street. As we passed across Dearborn Street, a motorist in a red SUV behind us squealed his tires as he sped up. He then swerved into the center lane when he was within a car-length of us. He did the same thing at the next two lights – buzzing cyclists as he yells “Get off the road!”.

Suggested improvements: Educate motorists and enforce traffic laws.

Driver leaving parking space not looking for bicyclists on Dearborn

Type

1. Right hook (car turned right, across your path)
2. Other
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Bike lane (left of parking lane)

Your story: The Dearborn bike lane drops those heading north into a nightmare of curbside parking, cabs picking up riders, and vehicles high tailing it to the expressways [it’s also on the left side of the street]. I usually avoid it like the plague – hopping over to travel north on State Street even though I live on Dearborn near Lincoln Park. However, since summer has arrived and there are more bikers on the streets I decided to travel with a pack of cyclists north of Kinzie. A few drivers passed with less than 3 feet of space while I was riding in the bike lane painted in the door zone but overall not too bad until a woman parked in an SUV on the left of the bike lane decided to pull out of the parking spot and into the bike lane without looking. I had my eye out for her though as I know how dangerous that stretch is and was able to stop in time and yelled out to her to stop as well, which she did. Why are we painting bike lanes in door zones?? Why oh why? Accidents waiting to happen. I will definitely not be continuing north on Dearborn after Kinzie during rush hour again.

Suggested improvements: State is much safer as there are fewer opportunities/reasons for cars to turn right and less street parking. They should put in a PBL on state heading north if Kinzie. Is anything in the mix there in the 2020 plan?

[time is approximate]

Insane taxi driver doesn’t understand he can’t drive in bike lane

Type

1. Left hook
Injury: No

What happened

Roadway description: Cycle track (with posts only)

Your story: Cab #5184 sped up to pass me on my right as I rode north. The driver quickly cut me off to drop off a customer – pulling into the bike lane sideways near the 7-11. I somehow braked and slid my bike sideways to avoid going through his back window. He was yelling at me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I yelled back that he was in a bike lane. I took a photo of the back of his cab and then pushed myself forward a few feet to get a photo of him, too. As I took the photo, he threw the cash from his last customer into the passenger side seat, unbuckled his seat belt and yelled “Come on, motherfucker!” I spit at him and he buzzed me up until Wacker (caught behind a car at a red light). I think he was trying to get in between the bollards to get back in the bike lane.

Improvements: Actually enforce traffic laws in this city.  This new infrastructure is useless when cars are allowed to park/drive in bike lanes (CPD does it, too).

[time unknown]