Do Urban Cyclists Empathize With Pedestrians?

Background Reading


So a conversation erupted on the ChainLink about alternate routes:

Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Getting fed up with Dearborn southbound – alternatives?
Posted by kiltedcelt on June 18, 2014 at 1:04pm

So, to avoid all the construction around Lakepoint Tower on the LFP I’ve been going home from the Fullerton/LFP area by using Wells/Kinzie/Dearborn/Wabash/11th, or sometimes Wabash/18th before I get back on the LFP to continue south. Dearborn going south in the afternoon is such a *%&&$#^ joke! Constant instances of pedestrians standing right in the bike lane along with cars parking and people getting out and walking across the bike lane along with the cars that are coming out of garages and not paying attention to southbound bike traffic. Dearborn may give Active Trans the warm fuzzies because of the “euro” bike signals, but in my opinion it’s an utter failure because now, well over a year since it’s creation it is still a bloody minefield of stupid, inconsiderate pedestrians who don’t have an effing clue. Is there another suitable southbound bike lane that can get me down to where I can switch over to Wabash? In the past I’ve ridden State Street just because of being fed up with Dearborn, but from what I’ve heard (haven’t ridden State in months), it’s a horrible mess because of the pothole trashed pavement. Also, besides riding so far south in the city, what about a quick and relatively painless way to get back over to the LFP just south of the river? Going back east immediately after crossing the river would be a nice option. I don’t mind trying to dodge peds and rude cyclists on the LFP where I have a little more room to maneuver, I just hate having to ride my brakes the entire distance of Dearborn.

Reply by Skip Montanaro 12mi 8 hours ago
I ride Wells in every morning. While it’s dark as a dungeon thanks to the L tracks, bikes are allowed to take the entire right lane, which I often do. Might be worth a try.

Reply by Lisa Curcio 6.6mi 8 hours ago
How about going down to the Riverwalk? There is a ramp on the east side of State at Wacker. It goes east along–wait for it–the river, under LSD and lets you hook back into the LFP at the north end of Dusable harbor. Fair warning, there are pedestrians down there, but it is far less stressful than dealing with the clueless idiots on Dearborn.

Reply by Nikul Shah 8 hours ago
I find clark to be a better ride SB through the Loop.

Reply by Paul Gnarlo 7 hours ago
best route down imo is taking over the right lake on clark – although the bridge has been up several times in the past few weeks (including today)

Reply by Kevin C 7 hours ago
Clark. But don’t tell CDOT. They might use their peculiar brand of design expertise to try to improve it.

Reply by Anne Alt 5 hours ago
If you want to move at a reasonable speed and can deal with the buses, Clark works.

Reply by kiltedcelt 1 hour ago
So you folks are saying Clark all the way down instead of Wells/Dearborn? I thought the bike lane disappeared from Clark at Oak Street. I’m pretty sure I’ve ridden it south a ways before but if I remember correctly it gets kinda tight. I prefer State because it’s so much wider, but then again, I hear it’s a complete mess these days. I haven’t tried the Riverwalk recently, mainly because it’s fairly clogged with tourists, although at least you don’t have idiots walking out in front of you to try and cross the street or hail a cab.

Reply by Skip Montanaro 12mi 28 minutes ago
While the bridge over the river on Wells was under construction, Clark was the detour route. I routinely rode in from Evanston all the way to Randolph. It’s not clear how far south you need to get before cutting back to LFT, but if all you want to do is avoid the Navy Pier mess, I doubt you’d have to go much past Lake.


Let’s for a moment imagine this conversation was between two motorists. But instead of them grousing about pedestrians they are talking about cyclists. Since the general consensus within the Urban Cycling Community is that motorists are generally reckless and ‘have it in for cyclists‘ the tone of the conversation would sound familiar. Most Urban Cyclists would nod and look knowingly at one another. Proof they would say that ‘motorists are a bad lot‘.

But this conversation is between a group of cyclists. Here then are some things I would predict pedestrians would take away from this conversation:

  • Cyclist have no regard for the safety of pedestrians. They do not understand the nature of the preeminence of pedestrians as ‘vulnerable users‘ in crosswalks here in Illinois.
  • Cyclists treat us as if we were members of anoppressed minority’. The insult our collective intelligence without hesitation. To them we are subhuman.
  • Cyclists have no regard for pedestrians who become pedestrians to move to and from the curb. Cyclists are responsible for the creation of Protected Bike Lanes. They came out in droves to join in a photo-op when the Dearborn PBL was inaugurated. Their input was the basis for the design of these lanes. Why then are they complaining that the design calls for pedestrians to move through the bike lane to get to the curb? And why do they feel it imperative that pedestrians not be in the crosswalk when they wish to cross over it? By law we pedestrians now have the very ‘vulnerable user‘ status that cyclists keep clamoring for. But they act as if such status disappoints them in practical usage. Why?
  • Cyclists seem too arrogant. While I am for bicycle lanes I am too insulted by their arrogance to vote for the return of their candidates in the next few election cycles.
  • Cyclists and their representatives seem to be on different pages. Isn’t CDOT the group that was responsible for the creation of the Dearborn PBL? Wasn’t Gabe Klein a part of that organization? If CDOT is as incompetent as cyclists seem to believe how can I trust that what they build is a worthwhile use of my tax dollars?