Motorcycles in the bicycle lane

Published on Mar 14, 2014 Two motorcycle riders in the bicycle lane last night. First, an unsafe pass on my right side, and then other rider cuts into bicycle lane before making sure its clear. Not that he should be riding in it anyway.


Actually this video shows some shared “unsafe practices” on both the part of the bicyclists and the motorcyclists. I noted for instance that the video opens with the rider of the bicycle moving at a jaunty clip while riding the dotted white line between vehicles in traffic. I kept waiting for one of the drivers (or even a passenger) to open a door as he sped through. That was all by itself a potentially more dangerous situation than that which occurred with the motorcyclists.

I see this kind of riding on the part of bicyclists all over the City of Chicago. It is on full display along Milwaukee Avenue especially in the Wicker Park area. I am never certain why any bicycle would find it necessary to ride between cars in traffic (which is an almost certain invitation to getting doored) and never certain why they travel at speeds great enough to prevent them from stopping in a safe distance.

But hey, let’s focus on the motorcyclists who were “sharing” the bike lane. Nah!

I assume that cyclists understand the inevitability of having skateboarders, joggers, pedestrians and motor scooters in the bike lane at one time or another. Elsewhere on this site is a video (in Amsterdam of all places) of motor scooters hard charging the Protected Bike Lane. The irony here is that once in a good secure PBL is could be difficult for a cyclist to execute a “panic maneuver“. If there is for instance a raised curb to the left of the cyclist and the roadway is slippery and you have a motor scooter or even a velomobile bearing down upon you (in the latter case no doubt silently) you will have precious little time to react. And if you are carrying groceries or kids on your cargo bike, you have better brace yourself for a bumpy ride.

But hey, we still need more Protected Bike Lanes. After all when riding through sketchy neighborhoods in the City of Chicago there is nothing like being stuck in a bike lane with a group of kids “wilding” riders that pass by, knowing that they cannot easily exit those lanes. Take for instance this account of a cyclist experiencing just this sort of thing:

Reply by Fred Lenhoff 18 hours ago
Last fall, I was riding home from the Loop down Augusta (to River Forest). Friday, about 6, still light out. I had just gone under the train overpass near Homan, when I saw about 10-15 kids on the sidewalk. None looked to be over 12-13 years old. And I remember thinking, “Hey, Ebert just died, maybe the West Side is about to erupt into violence?” (Ha.) Anyway, when I drew closer, they swarmed into the street. One pushed a rolling garbage can into the side of my bike, nearly knocking me off and breaking the fender. Another wacked me in the head with a big blue bag filled with what felt like telephone books. Nearly knocked my glasses off–luckily they stayed on, didn’t want to have to stop. Not sure what these Lord of the Flies bastards were up to–just messing around, or looking to steal something–but luckily nothing fell (including my glasses) so I was able to keep going — cursing them over my shoulder the whole way.

Coda: I now ride Fulton west to around Sacramento, then take Lake St.

Coda II: No comment on whether this is the knockout game or wilding or what have you. Whatever it is, whatever color they are/I am, doesn’t matter… it sucks. I think we can all agree on that…

The more “protected” the lane the more difficult to emerge from it when you are loaded down with heavy stuff and are cornered. One does not “bunny hop” a raised curb area riding with 20-30 lbs. of food an bottles of liquid. And you sure as heck have little acceleration power carrying all that crap.