Tag Archives: protected bike lane

Bicyclist has to stop abruptly to avoid SUV turning in front of view-blocking FedEx truck

Location

701 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL
Ward 27, Alderman Burnett

Type

Abrupt stop

What happened

Was cycling northbound on Milwaukee in the marked bike lane. First had to navigate around illegally parked delivery truck completely blocking the bike lane leaving a totally blind intersection to cross through. Then, the driver of a large SUV makes a left turn into a parking lot and unexpectedly stops while completely blocking the bike lane.

Slamming on the brakes is the only alternative here due to another illegally parked delivery truck which is blocking the only other safe exit path from this situation.

Suggested improvements

For this location and others would be designated parking areas for delivery vehicles that don’t block traffic lanes or bike lanes and are located in such a way that don’t create obstructed views of intersections. Also, ticketing of illegally parked vehicles could help with the illegal parking.

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 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.