Is Chicago bike-friendly?

Is Chicago bike-friendly?

There are 76 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Sep 15, 2007, titled Is Chicago bike-friendly?. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

As the city ponders the creation of a 1,500-bike rental fleet, a Tribune reporter and photographer pedaled out last week on the Near North Side and in the Loop with two Chicagoland Bicycle Federation employees ...

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Mike Kruger

United States

#62 Sep 17, 2007
Pretty good video. There aren't many people who know this topic better than Randy in particular and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation in general.
JXN

Chicago, IL

#63 Sep 17, 2007
Count me among the drivers that lives in fear of hitting a biker. I work from home most of the time, but do have to drive from Lakeview to the West suburbs for work a couple of times a week. I most often do my driving on Ashland down to Armitage to the turn onto the Kennedy - Ashland is NOT a street that bikers and cars can share well!
With the constant truck and bus traffic added to the cars, plus the 6 corner intersection at Belmont, and the triangle at Fullerton & Clybourn, the bridge over the River at Webster, and then all the turning and mess at Elston and Armitage including the viaduct under the Kennedy and pedestrians crossing for the Metra...
I cringe every time I see a biker in the lane and have to pass them. And then I cringe for the next mile, because they catch up to my car at every light and I have to pass them at least 5 times again while they veer into my lane as they dodge buses, pedestrians, and people parking their cars.
Ashland is not a street that should have a bike lane. It is not safe to crowd a bike lane in between the parked cars and traffic lanes. There is no room for it, and it's dangerous to everyone. It's irresponsible of the city to create bike lanes where it is just completely inappropriate. Bikers, drivers, and pedestrians deserve better city planning.
Believe me, I am not all about the car. My 6 year old car has 20,000 miles on it. But just because we *want* to make our city bike friendly does not mean we should display an appalling lack of common sense in selecting the streets where we place our bike lanes.
Terrorized pedestrian

Chicago, IL

#64 Sep 17, 2007
Ordtek, you use your words, I'll use mine. When I'm crossing using the crosswalk, after having properly stopped and looked both ways, and a bike comes out of nowhere and makes my dog jump, then another comes along as I'm dealing with the first... my word fits my experience, thank you very much. I pity the cars who are trying to go through the intersection who stop, start to move, and a cyclist goes blasting through... I expect they are the most terrorized. The cyclist breaks the law, but if they hit one of them, its on their conscience, possibly their record. When I do have to drive my wife to the doctor, I get off the roads with bike lanes as quickly as I can, so I don't have to worry about a cyclist blowing through a stop sign, making me break or swerve.(Disobeying stop signs is my number one grip by a LONG shot!)

(Just by info, I live on the corner of one of the more heavily used bike lanes on the far north side... its not uncommon for bikes to outnumber cars on the road at any given time. And were they to stop, signal, and show basic common sense and courtesy, I'd be "elated pedestrian ...")
Jennifer

United States

#65 Sep 17, 2007
For my money, the biggest danger bikers face is buses. I was riding north on narrow, narrow Sheridan on Sunday, around the Thorndale area, because my destination was a few blocks north of the end of the Lake Shore trail. A bus came up behind me and honked impatiently several times, not wanting to pass me because we were approaching the stop. Finally, the driver maneuvered his monster next to me (I'm talking clearance of about four inches), thus forcing me off the street and onto the sidewalk. This was mere moments after I'd seen the sign reminding me that it is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk. At least most cars sit low enough see things closer to a biker's level.
Jim

United States

#66 Sep 17, 2007
BikeTransit wrote:
<quoted text>
Jim,
Bicyclists have a right to bring their bike on CTA outside of the hours of 7 and 9am, and 4 and 6pm. These are the hours that CTA designates as rush hour, when it's much too crowded for bikes. You can learn more about the program here: http://www.transitchicago.com/welcome/brochur... (scroll down to the Bike & Ride Program Brochure)
Instead of scowling silently at the "dirty bikes", perhaps you could speak to them calmly and directly, and figure out how they might coexist on the train without causing you--or your fellow passengers--any distress or bruises. In any case, you should be nice to these people: they are, like you, choosing an eco-friendly form of transportation. And perhaps they will be the ones to teach you how to effectively commute by bike when train fares reach $4 a pop.
I don't care what the CTA rules are. If a train is already packed at a stop, people should not get on the train with bikes. It's very rude and inconsiderate and those people inevitably knock into the people already on the train with their filthy bikes.
BluePeugeot

Chicago, IL

#67 Sep 17, 2007
Hah, I'd like to see someone get their car confiscated. What a twit. Try riding a bike in the city, I dare you, wimp.
BPort John wrote:
All bikes allowed on city streets should pay for the privilege. I am a little peaved that tax money from drivers is used to partition off portions of the streets for exclusive use by bikes.
Each Bike should pay a yearly fee for using the streets. It can be part of a mandatory safety inspection of their bike. A $10 dollar fee sounds approriate.$5 to the bike shop maiking the inspection adn $5 to the city to help pay the cost of bike lane marking and signage.
And all bike riders over 16 should be licensed. The rules of the road state that bikes are supposed to follow all traffic laws. Yet anyone with the money to purchase a bike can ride on the streets. Whether or not they know the laws. Bikes riders should be treated the same a vehicle drivers. They should pass a test demonstrating knowledge of the laws and the physical ability to ride the bike. If they disobey traffic laws, they should lose their right to ride and have their bike confistaced.
The licensing fees and bike inspection fees would make a huge contribution to the general revenue fund of Chicago.
BluePeugeot

Chicago, IL

#68 Sep 17, 2007
I'd have to say your only looking for cars, a common mistake.
Terrorized pedestrian wrote:
Ordtek, you use your words, I'll use mine. When I'm crossing using the crosswalk, after having properly stopped and looked both ways, and a bike comes out of nowhere and makes my dog jump, then another comes along as I'm dealing with the first... my word fits my experience, thank you very much. I pity the cars who are trying to go through the intersection who stop, start to move, and a cyclist goes blasting through... I expect they are the most terrorized. The cyclist breaks the law, but if they hit one of them, its on their conscience, possibly their record. When I do have to drive my wife to the doctor, I get off the roads with bike lanes as quickly as I can, so I don't have to worry about a cyclist blowing through a stop sign, making me break or swerve.(Disobeying stop signs is my number one grip by a LONG shot!)
(Just by info, I live on the corner of one of the more heavily used bike lanes on the far north side... its not uncommon for bikes to outnumber cars on the road at any given time. And were they to stop, signal, and show basic common sense and courtesy, I'd be "elated pedestrian ...")
BluePeugeot

Chicago, IL

#69 Sep 17, 2007
Recent legislature deems that vehicles must give 3 feet clearance when passing a bicycle. You should have reported the bus or filed a complaint with Chicago's finest.
Jennifer wrote:
For my money, the biggest danger bikers face is buses. I was riding north on narrow, narrow Sheridan on Sunday, around the Thorndale area, because my destination was a few blocks north of the end of the Lake Shore trail. A bus came up behind me and honked impatiently several times, not wanting to pass me because we were approaching the stop. Finally, the driver maneuvered his monster next to me (I'm talking clearance of about four inches), thus forcing me off the street and onto the sidewalk. This was mere moments after I'd seen the sign reminding me that it is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk. At least most cars sit low enough see things closer to a biker's level.
mike

AOL

#70 Sep 18, 2007
all the dangers mentioned above, as well as the craziness of street riding, by the way, is why many bikers choose to bicycle either on the sidewalk, or in the alley.
Terrorized pedestrian

Chicago, IL

#71 Sep 18, 2007
BluePeugeot wrote:
I'd have to say your only looking for cars, a common mistake.
<quoted text>
Not so at all! Since bikers often run the stop signs, I look for them very assiduously. But is it really a "mistake" to look both ways at a crosswalk, wait till it is clear before entering, and then be buzzed by a cyclist who didn't even slow down for a STOP sign? If so, its not my mistake, its his/hers.
Steve

Wilmette, IL

#72 Sep 18, 2007
"Terrorized pedestrian"

Lol,
You forget that everyone biking around town's also doing plenty of walking and street crossing as well so please, please...spare us the ridiculous hyperbole. Almost 6,000 pedestrians are killed (90,000 injured) by cars every year, as for pedestrians killed or even hurt by cyclists, well I can't even find a figure. Time to change your handle or at least dial it down a notch.
Terrorized pedestrian

Chicago, IL

#73 Sep 18, 2007
Steve wrote:
"Terrorized pedestrian"
Lol,
You forget that everyone biking around town's also doing plenty of walking and street crossing as well so please, please...spare us the ridiculous hyperbole. Almost 6,000 pedestrians are killed (90,000 injured) by cars every year, as for pedestrians killed or even hurt by cyclists, well I can't even find a figure. Time to change your handle or at least dial it down a notch.
I forgot nothing, are you some kind of mind reader? If you read more carefully and react accordingly you'll see that I pointed out that cars also drive in dangerous, illegal, and disrespectful ways.

I find it amazing that people try to defend a practice which is dangerous, disrespectful, and ILLEGAL (and just plain stupid... physics anyone?) by either saying "Well they do it too" or by attacking me. Most people outgrow that when they learn as children that their parents' didn't buy it, but not cyclists who want to defend the indefensible.

As for my handle and hyperbole... why do you think I use them, messages like yours and others are perfect examples. I've seem people use better logic in the ABORTION debate for pity's sake!:<

STOP means stop, even for someone on a bicycle, and of story.

Again I'll say, unless moral math has changed, two wrongs don't make a right.
Terrorized pedestrian

Chicago, IL

#74 Sep 19, 2007
Parting thoughts:
I'm an avid environmentalist, in theory I'm tremendously in favor of people cycling instead of driving, and I used to cycle everywhere when I lived in cities which didn't have mass transit.
Further, it astounds me that such elemental concepts as staying in one particular lane (doesn't matter which one, just pick ONE) and using the turn signal BEFORE changing lanes or turning escape so many drivers.
I ought to be the biggest fan of bicycles on the streets. My problem is with people who:
* Break the law
* In dangerous irresponsible ways
* Which cause cars and pedestrians to have to take evasive action.

Anyone who thinks I'm exaggerating... stand at the corner of one of the bike lanes or routes on the north side... count how many cyclists actually stop for the stop sign. The BEST ratio I've seen is 4 who blast through for every one who stops.(Yes, I have done this... I think something through before I shoot off my mouth.) More common is 6 to 10 for every one who stops.

I think one of the best ways to make Chicago more bike friendly would be for the cyclists to be more CHICAGO friendly.
It works elsewhere ya know. Out in LA when I rode there, I saw the police ticketing cyclists who changed lanes without signaling, didn't stop at intersections, etc. I also saw them ticketing cars who harassed cyclists by honking at them when they were doing nothing wrong, following too closely, cutting them off, etc. This is fair- enforce the laws- all of them.
Its *everyone's* responsibility to obey the laws and display a basic civility and respect towards their fellow citizens. It may not work as quickly as the escalation of rudeness breeding rudeness, but civility and courtesy can be contagious- give it a try folks!
MrSleep

United States

#75 Sep 22, 2007
DBChicago wrote
"Chicago is better than the rest of the Midwest"....I have lived all over the country and Chicago is by far the worst when it comes to cyclists complete disregard for traffic laws and others personal safety.
Jime

Bloomingdale, IL

#76 May 29, 2008
I'm with you Jerry. I almost hit a guy who ran a stop sign. I honked my horn and he gave me the finger as though I was in the wrong! I caught up with him and his excuse was it was drizzling rain and he wanted to get home. He had no helmet on to boot. I told him rain would be the least of his problems had I hit him!

I am an avid biker and ride my bike around the streets of Chicago. While I may roll through stop signs, I ALWAYS follow the same rules of the road as a car. If there is a car I stop. That's the law. Pulling in front of cars, cutting them off, blowing stop signs, and going the wrong way down a one way road are a big problem in this city. Police need to start cracking down for everyone's safety; mostly the bikers!
Jerry wrote:
I believe that we should have more people riding bikes, and less people driving cars. The problem is that all bikers, not most, believe that the rules of the road do not apply to them. They feel that they can ride on sidewalks, ignore stop signs and traffic lights, ride between lanes, pull in front of stop cars, etc. I next time I see a biker stop at a stop sign it will be the first.
He who knows

Minneapolis, MN

#78 Sep 24, 2014
Chicago is NOT a bike friendly city!

For those who choose the street, it is a complete, total nightmare! Chicagoans do NOT know patience, they do NOT look out for bikers, they rear end bikers doing triple the speed limit, they whack them over with their doors, they cause the kinds of impacts that, if it doesn't break the biker's head open, it breaks the biker's neck, leaving the biker permanently paralyzed from the neck down even if the biker is wearing a helmet.

Roughly 75 percent of the city proper is nonstop, violent ghetto, crawling with hardened killers, gang bangers, flash mobs, wanted fugitives, and other dangerous people that demonstrate no obedience of any kind to the law. In numerous Chicago neighborhoods, cyclists are not even safe riding on the sidewalk, let alone a colored and buffered bike lane. In numerous Chicago neighborhoods, there are people that will literally shoot you right off your bike, and they keep firing and firing until you fall off your bike and crash to the ground unconscious and bleeding, and then they steal your bike while you are dying on the ground. In many numerous Chicago neighborhoods, if cars and car doors don't get you, flying bullets will. And while helmets can and do protect you from most low speed impacts, absolutely no helmet in the world will ever protect you from flying bullets, especially which can even exceed 1,000 miles per hour, and some of which can and will even tear through a cinder block wall.

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