Chicago bicyclists face daily perils on crowded streets

Full story: Chicago Tribune

Mary Pat Fabeck agonizes over the last minutes her 22-year-old son Tyler spent after being struck by a car while riding his bike in the Logan Square neighborhood a year ago.

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Kevin Anderson

Highland Park, IL

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#23
Apr 17, 2009
 
It does not make sense that Chicago's antiquated rights-of-way are somehow keeping us from making our streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians - back then, these were far more common ways of getting around.
ithinknot

Chicago, IL

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#24
Apr 17, 2009
 
Chicago is not built for cyclist to ride on the sidewalk or the streets. Our streets are too narrow, over crowed and with a new hazard of gigantic potholes.... Biker riders should find a park or go to the lakefront to exercise. Don't be a fool(guinea pig) check the statistics!
tomj

New York, NY

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#25
Apr 17, 2009
 
I don't ride my bike in the city as much as I sued to, mainly because at 65 I can't dodge as well as I once did. But I walk a lot and I agree that our streets need a lot fo work to protect both cyclists and pedestrians.

I'm also a canoeist. Earlier this week, a legilslator introduced a law to close off stretches of rivers near dams where people had been killed. Extending that logic, we'd need a law to close off intersections where people have died. Neither idea makes much sense.
Ted

Glen Ellyn, IL

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#26
Apr 17, 2009
 
Why is there no talk in this article about cyclists who disobey traffic laws, ride to fast, and simply do other dangerous things which put themselves and others in peril?
RSH

Chicago, IL

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#27
Apr 17, 2009
 
I've seen too many cyclists running stop signs, blowing through red lights and weaving in and out of lanes, cutting cars off. The traffic rules apply to ALL traffic. Cyclists who play chicken with cars need to remember that all they have protecting them is a helmet.
Ted

Glen Ellyn, IL

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#28
Apr 17, 2009
 
hey hillbillies wrote:
you posters are a bunch of midwestern car-loving hicks that have spent your entire lives in america and never seen a city that doesn't bow before the almighty car driver.
people died and you're worried about proper traffic flow. typical suburban midwestern crap.
you sicken me and I'm embarrassed to share a country with you ignorant insensitive backwards overweight jerky-eaters.
Thanks for being part of the self-righteous majority. You are a credit to your cyclist community.
Peter

Chicago, IL

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#29
Apr 17, 2009
 
hey hillbillies wrote:
you posters are a bunch of midwestern car-loving hicks that have spent your entire lives in america and never seen a city that doesn't bow before the almighty car driver.
people died and you're worried about proper traffic flow. typical suburban midwestern crap.
you sicken me and I'm embarrassed to share a country with you ignorant insensitive backwards overweight jerky-eaters.
Ah shucks, I guess that makes you an arrogant, rude, know it all elitist.

Go back where you came from.
Becca

Buffalo Grove, IL

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#30
Apr 17, 2009
 
I have mixed feelings on this topic. I come from a family of cyclists that always wear helmets and even trained for the Tour. None of us would ever go against a traffic signal. Drivers do need to wake up. With so many distractions, cyclists need to remember, it is much more difficult to stop a car. Wear helmets; don't pass a car on the right or left when traffic has slowed, you may be turned into. As my bike racing brother always reminded me, I spent a lot of time and money developing my brain. A helmet protects it.
Get Real

Ashburn, VA

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#31
Apr 17, 2009
 
Obey the Laws wrote:
The bicyclists I see on the streets almost never obey the traffic laws. Most common is blowing through 4 way stops. Also very common are the bicyclists that weave in & out of slow moving traffic. For every 1 law abiding bicyclist I observe there are 5-10 that flagrantly break the law. Start by riding safely & accidents will plummet!!
I am one of the law abiding bicyclists. I also drive, so I can see this situation from both points of view. This is a situation where both parties are careless. For instance just last weekend a biker blew through a red light and I almost ran them over. When I yelled at him I just got the finger. This morning I was riding to work. I take either Wells or Clark because both roads have bike lanes. A car missed my left arm by probably 4 inches as he flew by me probably going 45. Most bikers have a lot to change about how they ride, but the mentality of "well if I hit them at least I won't get hurt" it seems the drivers have needs to change as well.
Pete

Chicago, IL

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#32
Apr 17, 2009
 
Why is everyone so ready to talk about cyclists disobeying traffic laws, but not drivers? Have you ever noticed how many people run red lights, make rolling stops at stop signs, turn without a signal, and stop in crosswalks? How many drivers actually obey the speed limit, not cheating just a little over that number? These things are so common that we all just ignore them, and that is wrong. Cyclists standout because there are fewer, and a minority. It is much easier to pick on a small, defenseless group of people than to look in the mirror and say: I am wrong.
Fed-Up in Chicago

Chicago, IL

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#33
Apr 17, 2009
 
ithinknot wrote:
Chicago is not built for cyclist to ride on the sidewalk or the streets. Our streets are too narrow, over crowed and with a new hazard of gigantic potholes.... Biker riders should find a park or go to the lakefront to exercise. Don't be a fool(guinea pig) check the statistics!
Why not tell car drivers to drive only at a race track, and take the CTA? Cars and bikes are both valid means of commuting in Chicago. Each must respect the other and the vehicle code. I agree most bikers don't obey the law but on the other hand,have you seen the Bike Lanes on Elston Av constantly being used as an automobile express lane. That's not dangerous, right?
Richie

Chicago, IL

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#34
Apr 17, 2009
 
To all the people sharing this "cyclists never obey the rules" mentality --

How do you explain last-year's cycling death where the cyclist was "doored" on LaSalle and flung into oncoming traffic?
Warland

Chicago, IL

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#36
Apr 17, 2009
 
I don't always stop at stop signs on my bicycle. And I really don't feel bad about that fact at all.

When there is no cross traffic, I can roll right through without causing a bit of hazard to myself or anyone else.

I suspect that motorists who go on and on about "following the rules" are less concerned about rules and safety and instead feel entitled to totally unimpeded automobile travel at all times. They resent that they occasionally are delayed by upwards of ten seconds in order to safely pass a bicyclist. There is also a misplaced sense of "fairness;" they have to bring their big expensive vehicle to a stop at every stop sign, but the cyclist can apparently go right through with impunity. Unfair!

They forget that by commuting by bicycle, I provide them with many benefits: less traffic congestion, less pollution, and less fuel consumed, not to mention lower health care costs as I avoid the afflictions of a sedentary lifestyle. You're welcome.

Of course rules are important, but consider the following two scenarios: in one case, an 18-wheel semi truck runs a stop sign at a busy intersection filled with traffic and pedestrians. In another, a person jaywalks across an abandoned intersection late at night.

Both have "broken the rules." But nobody would argue that the infractions are equal or present similar hazards. I assert that my cycling transgressions are closer to the latter scenario than the former.

Motorists: look at yourselves. Do you ever roll through stop signs? It happens constantly in my neighborhood. Do you ever talk on the phone, send text messages, tune the radio, yell at your kids, or eat a hamburger while you drive? Every one of those activities poses a far greater danger to others than I do when I run a stop sign on my bicycle. Until motorists stop doing all those things, I find myself quite unwilling to listen to any lectures about bicycle safety or admonishments to "follow the rules."

I understand that the subtleties and logic of these comments will be lost on the typical Tribune comments reader. So be it.

And, please don't kill me out there, OK?

Since: Jan 09

Chicago, IL

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#38
Apr 17, 2009
 
While I feel for the family of Tyler, as of course it is a tragedy anytime a person is hurt or killed riding a bicycle, it appears that the bicyclist was at fault by turning in front of the car. Some cyclists need to wake up and realize that they are not alone on the road, or are entitled to moving in and out of traffic as they please with the expectation that drivers will see them when they appear out of nowhere or will even have time to stop when they are zipping down the street or turning in front of them. As a driver I do my best to make sure that a bicyclist isn't coming when I open my door, change lanes, etc., but there are many times where a rider pops into traffic with little warning to the driver.
As a leisurely bicyclist, I ride on the sidewalk or on side streets where there is little auto traffic. I am not comfortable riding in the street, and think that it would make everyone's lives easier if bicycles and cars were able to ride separately. I understand that in areas with lots of foot traffic this is difficult, but ultimately it is up to the rider to protect themselves. I think that bicyclists riding late at night should take the sidewalks for their own safety. Drivers and riders alike need to make themselves more aware of their surroundings and drive more carefully.
John Hasan

New York, NY

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#39
Apr 17, 2009
 
I agree with many of the posts above. 99% of the cyclists do not obey any traffic rules. I have had many near collisions with cyclists going straight through on my right while I am making a right turn. I can't remember the last time I saw a cyclist stop or even slow down at a stop sign.

I am all for having more bike friendly cities but they just don't get it.

Nobody should have to shoulder the burden of Tyler's family. I hope that they become activists in teaching cyclists responsible riding
Bob

Hackensack, NJ

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#40
Apr 17, 2009
 
The utter disregard of traffic laws by bicyclists (tho there are very limited exceptions) is amazing. They blow thru stop signs and red lights, talk on phones, ride on sidewalks and go the wrong way whenever it suits.

Sure you feel bad when someone gets hurt unnecessarily, but they (as a general rule) need to start exhibiting some more responsible behavior here.
pedestrian

Chicago, IL

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#43
Apr 17, 2009
 
While my heart goes out to the family on their loss, I would be the first to vote against allowing bicycles on public streets. For every couple of decent cyclist, there is the jerk who is a danger to everyone. And then there are the adults riding on sidewalks, with police watching and saying nothing. Until basic laws regarding bicycle rules of the road are actually enforced, they will remain in my mind a group that is dangerous and out of control. On the other side of the counter, soccer moms driving with cell phones permanently attached to ther ears also violate the law.
sue

Chicago, IL

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#45
Apr 17, 2009
 
Sorry this kid died but from the account in the article it was his fault.
I agree drivers' and bikers need to learn to share the road. That means following the rules of the road, they apply to bikers too and in my experience are largly ignored by that group.
I'm willing to do my part, don't point a guilty finger at me!
Jamahtrah

Chicago, IL

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#46
Apr 17, 2009
 
Miles Long wrote:
Two comments:
Bicyclists do not obey the rules of the road, therefore they, more often than not, are responsible for their misfortune individually, and as a group. As other have stated, I cannot remember the last time I saw a cyclist stop at a stop sign; it just doesn't happen.
As for their entreaties to motor vehicle drivers to "share the road," when I see that bicycle city sticker showing they've paid their share of city road upkeep, then I'll listen a little closer to their complaints.
Miles "Have City Sticker, Will Travel" Long
Sorry Richie but I must agree with Miles Long. Better bickers ride on the sidewalks like the messagers do in the loop. At least when there is an accident no one is killed. I rarely see bikers obey the rules of the road. Many bikes in the loop have no brakes or gears.
Reader

Chicago, IL

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#47
Apr 17, 2009
 
Cyclists are putting pedestrians at peril everyday because they do not obey the rules of the road. If cyclists want respect on the road, they will have to start obeying the rules.

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