#RollTogether : Biking Is Safe. Bike Lanes Make It Safer. Protected Bike Lanes Are The Best Of All.

Background Reading




Let’s begin this memorialization with some recent blather from our good friends from People For Bikes. It would seem that they too have noticed that the intensity level of mistrust and downright hate is increasing between the “transportation species“. You can easily monitor this sort of thing by “listening” to the language of cyclists as they discuss yet another collision between themselves and anybody else.

In general the bulk of their animosity is reserved for motorists although they dish on pedestrians just as loudly. The major difference there is that pedestrians represent less of a physical threat to cyclists so they are often dismissed as simply stupid cows who have not right to be in the bike lanes.

Now it is important to remember that our “showcaseProtected Bike Lane (PBL) is on Dearborn Street. Protected Bike Lanes are the paragons of safe infrastructure and are what the folks on this same forum were loudly debating the need for in the case of the recent death of Bobby Cann. Keep this fact in mind as you listen in on their discussion this AM:

Another cyclist hit?
Posted by Brian on June 5, 2013 at 10:41am

This morning at Chicago & LaSalle around 10:20am. Lots of police and an ambulance. Anyone know what happened and if the rider is OK?
Is it me or is this stuff happening more?

It is indeed you. While accidents come in clusters, the mind sees patterns when incidents “reach closer to home“.

Biking Is Safe

Reply by blair_ 1 hour ago
I feel like drivers are more dangerous than I’ve seen in my past 3+ years of biking. Just the other night, my fiance saw a guy get hit at Ashland and Milwaukee. Thankfully, he was fine.
I was almost hit head-on in the Dearborn lane the other morning when a cab pulled into the lane to drop someone off.
Hoping the cyclist that was hit this morning is okay!

So another myth bites the dust. Cycling is indeed a dangerous activity. And it is made doubly so in the presence of cars. I suppose we could dispense with the other myths that bike lanes make cycling safer and that protected bike lanes are the best of all, with this one thread entry. Clearly if you can be threatened in the lane itself (not even presumably at an intersection) all bets are off. So is there even a solution?

Yes, at least I think there is. We will need to find a way to test this hypothesis but training of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians is sorely needed. Clearly just dropping a load of PVC bollards and green paint onto the pavement does very little to ameliorate the sense of dread that seasoned riders seem to have. After all the speaker here has not one but three seasons under their belt already. This is not their first rodeo!

Reply by spencewine 56 minutes ago
My fiance almost got hit yesterday when a cab cut her off to grab a fair. She said it was the scariest thing that’s ever happen to her. Today I was buzzed by a giant moving truck who then yelled at me for not “getting over further”. This is a wide neighborhood street and I was riding about 1 foot from the parked cars.
Hope it wasn’t a cyclist.

Arrogance of Space

Arrogance of Space

One of my pet peeves with city riding is that everyone seems to have taken Mikael Colville-Andersen’s plea to cram yet more crap into an already tight space literally. To be fair he has a good point when the situation is as “roomy” as that shown in the image to the right. But frankly in Chicago I do not care for the placement of “buffered bike lanes” if they are not sufficiently wide.

We pass laws all over the country that make it mandatory that a motorist give a cyclist at least three feet of space when passing on the left. And then we cram a bike lane up against parked cars and expect the cyclists to avoid getting clipped from the left by passing trucks while managing to keep an eye out for passengers exiting the driver’s side of parked vehicles on the right.

No single bike lane should require a cyclist to come any close to a parked vehicle than 3-feet. Exactly the same idea as the 3-Foot law but in reverse.

Muddled Facts Are A Constant On The ChainLink

Reply by Jordan Snow 46 minutes ago
A friend on FB said he witnessed it at Chicago & State, but he could have been mixed up on the intersections.
Anyway, he said the driver ran the red, hit the cyclist, and continued driving. Said the cyclist was on the ground but alert and talking.

Okay the exact location of the accident is in dispute but the fact that it occurred is not. Par for the course.

Reply by Brian 34 minutes ago
Glad he’s (reasonably) OK. Police were there en masse and all I could see was a bent bike and someone on the ground next to it. Hope a camera light caught the car.

Here arrives a “teachable moment“. Cyclists are well aware of the presence of camera all over the city. When they are involved in an injury-related collision the very first thing that they and their lawyer look for are cameras. With cameras you can easily identify the driver especially if the license plate is visible. Cyclists even know to whip out their cell phone to make images of offending vehicles in all sorts of situations. Having the public given a means to easily identify you is what gives drivers that moment’s pause before they consider doing something rash.

But motorists are not the only ones on the streets doing dumb things. What is there about cyclists that makes them easily identifiable then their behavior needs to be reported following a bicycle-vs-pedestrian or even a bicycle-vs-car altercation. The long and short answers are both “not a damn thing“.

Ride Numbers On A Fundraiser Cyclist

Ride Numbers On A Fundraiser Cyclist

You are more likely to be able to identify a cyclist who is doing a charity ride than you are one who is going either to or from work each day. Why? Those darned pesky numbers they make you wear. These are in essence your “license plate” for the day.

Some rides like the Bike The Drive ride put on by Active Transportation Alliance encourage you to wear yet two more items. The first is a wrist band that is used to determine whether or not you are actually registered for that particular year and thus is visually scanned for by folks who man the food tables at rest stops. The other is a sticker that is to be placed on the front of the helmet of the rider for easy identification when you appear in photos being taken by professional photographers positioned along the way.

Now what is very curious indeed is that Ron Burke likely to have a kitten if someone were to suggest yet again that bicyclists be licensed following a written test and a road test (not unlike what motorists, motor cyclists and motor scooter owners must endure) because well it would make his supporters irate. And why would they be irate? Because once they have a license plate suspended from their vehicle and can be easily identified they suddenly become targets for ticketing and complaints by the general public for all the goofy and deadly dangerous behavior that they often dismiss as being overblown.

Do not let them pull the wool over your eyes! If Active Transportation Alliance feels strongly enough about identifying riders who attend Bike The Drive that they have choke point inspections by their staffers and police then why the heck is the general public not entitled to a similar verification of cyclists?

Herewith Begins The Lying Session

It is at this point in most ChainLink Forum discussion that I being to miss by days as a Junior High School teacher. Adam is likely to have attended a school like this one where evidently the kids have a very strong sense of entitlement and the adult chaperones have absolutely no control over their charges. At any rate his behavior on the ChainLink always puts me in mind of someone who clearly does not understand restraint. And add to this the obvious fact that he is a “whiner” and you have a toxic mix:

Reply by Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) 31 minutes ago
It must be all the road rage caused by all these damned bike lanes being installed.

Reply by blair_ 29 minutes ago
Get out of my lane and onto the sidewalk!
(build bike lanes)
Stop wasting money on those things! I’ll park in them if I want!

Reply by Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) 26 minutes ago
What do you know? You don’t even pay road tax!

Reply by Brian 26 minutes ago
Funny! I had a car pull up next to me last week to tell me bikes should be forced off the road since they are meant for cars.

Reply by foofy q. 12 minutes ago
Yeah, I’ve heard people say bikes shouldn’t be on the road since the city streets were not designed for bikes.

Reply by Serge Lubomudrov 9 minutes ago
Rrright . . . How it never occurs to those fucking morons that both roads and bikes precede cars?

That last blow was delivered by an old guy to clumsy to ride the Chicago Lakefront Trail in the presence of a young child on a bike to avoid crashing to the pavement. I guess he has recovered enough to be able to act a fool alongside kids a third his age on the forum.

Reply by David Barish 8 minutes ago
At 1020 am there is really no excuse for this. Traffic should not have been that heavy. LaSalle is a big street and there should have been plenty of room for everybody. I was in a motorized vehicle on LaSalle during rush hour and there was very little room for bikes in between lines of cars. (I have to be out in the burbs for work this afternoon and needed a car) Most drivers seemed to be aware of the bikes. It may have been easier because traffic was so bottled up that cars could not move very fast and the bikes passed them easily. Darting pedestrians seemed to be the greater risk.

Reply by Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) 6 minutes ago
Also it was the League of American Wheelmen (Now Bicyclists) that originally successfully lobbied for the widespread implementation of paved roads. Prior to that, they were just bumpy dirt roads.

Enough already with the pseudo-history lessons from folks not smart enough to follow traffic laws on a regular basis.

Reply by Brian 56 minutes ago
Not that it’s an excuse, but it’s possible the bike was going east on Chicago and car was going south on LaSalle when it blew the red light. I’ve been hit by cars both on bike and as a pedestrian, so nothing is safe.

Reply by Will G – 10mi 55 minutes ago
Yo spence,
Give yourself more room from those cars, 1 ft from the parking lane is PRIME dooring real estate. (Sorry, I’m sure you know this.)
Moving further into the lane also helps to deter cars from trying to squeeze past you, passing unsafely.

Good suggestion, Will. Always wondered why folks who know so much about everything else have so little common sense when it comes to avoiding riding in the “Door Zone“. This is one instance in which some Vehicular Cycling training could go a very long way to preventing death and injury.

Reply by foofy q. 51 minutes ago
I love this info, thanks! Now I have something to sling back at these knowitall morons.

Obviously life is a “pissing match” to most of these types of cyclists.

Reply by Davo 39 minutes ago
It would be nice to have this info in a pamphlet so we could give it to offenders while on the road or friends when they bring it up in conversations.

That same thought occurred to me but in a slightly different context. Someone ought to carry along a nice hefty stack of Rules of the Road to hand out to scofflaws to pass out to cyclists while they are serving on a Look Chicago! outing.

Reply by foofy q. 37 minutes ago
totally. Sorry to derail this thread but just found this article that was pretty interesting: http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/the-petition-that-paved-ame…

Reply by David Barish 25 minutes ago

There is really no need to engage and there is rarely any benefit. If you must, you can put it more simply. “Its illegal for me to ride on the sidewalk. I am where I belong.” You can follow up with “deal” or “have a nice day” depending on your personality.

Dave this crowd lives for “engagement“. Mark my words, the day that concealed carry permits are issued here in Chicago is the day that we begin a series of articles in which “stand your ground” confrontations make the headlines because either a cyclist pulled a gun on a motorist or pedestrian that pissed them off or the other way round. Either situation is not going to end well. This way lies madness.