Why Is It Fine to Bilk Motorists But Not OK To Ticket Cyclists Riding Sidewalks Along Michigan Avenue?

Background Reading

Summary

Workers with American Traffic Solutions install a speed camera in 2012 on Western Avenue near Warren Park. © DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

Workers with American Traffic Solutions install a speed camera in 2012 on Western Avenue near Warren Park. © DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

EDGEWATER — A pair of controversial speed cameras along a common North Side commute have dished out $1.17 million in fines since they’ve been installed, data shows.

The cameras, at Senn Park (5885 N. Ridge Ave.) and Warren Park (6523 N. Western Ave.), were installed by the city and issue $35 tickets to those caught going 6 to 10 mph over the posted limit, and $100 for faster than that. First-time offenders get a warning.

From Dec. 24, 2013 — when the Warren Park camera went online — to 9:42 a.m. on Feb. 10, the cameras have issued 33,003 violations, according to data obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Senn Park camera came online on May 1, 2014, nabbing its first speeder about 6:30 a.m. that day.

In all, 19,219 warnings, 3,241 violations for speeding 6-10 mph and 10,543 violations for speeding more than 11 mph were issued.

While some residents and Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said they hoped the cameras would slow speedy drivers, some motorists who have received tickets from the two cameras say it’s a cash-grab by the city.

TakeAways

Not very long ago ChainLink Forum members were railing against the fact the Chicago Police Department had begun issuing tickets to cyclists who dared to ride the pedestrian sidewalks along Michigan Avenue.

It turns out that this (riding along sidewalks) is a violation of a city ordinance for anyone over the age of 12. Most cyclists are aware of this fact (or at least would be if we had a licensing protocol that involved classroom and on street training) but some are adamant about ignoring it. Why?

They feel that it is unfair for them to have to ride along the street on Michigan Avenue and would prefer a bike lane instead.

Of course the proper approach to such things is to lobby for a change in the law. And given the fact that cyclists get irate when motorists use the bicycle lane for parking and driving it seems only reasonable that there would be some sensitivity to the feelings of pedestrians when cyclists do the same thing.

Clearly the waters have been muddied as cyclists try to justify doing to pedestrians what their motoring counterparts do to them. Nothing will change until everyone stops being selfish and thinks about the other person.

We are all in this together.