The Single Most Important Thing To ‘Keep Chicagoans Safe’…

Background Reading



Chicago police at the scene of a shooting in the 100 block of West 36th Place between State Street and Wabash Avenue on May 25, 2015. (Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune)

At least 12 people were killed and 44 others were wounded over the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, only slightly higher than the toll of gun violence the previous weekend in the city.

The youngest person wounded was a 4-year-old girl, shot as she sat in a car after a prom party in the Englewood neighborhood Friday night. The youngest person killed was a 15-year-old boy who was shot in the Bronzeville neighborhood Sunday night.

Two of the 12 homicide victims were killed Friday night into Saturday morning; four were killed Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning; and three of the victims were killed Sunday night.

The latest killing happened in the 4900 block of West Erie Street in the Austin neighborhood. A 17-year-old boy was shot in the back and leg about 7:50 p.m. and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in serious condition, Chicago Police spokesman Officer Thomas Sweeney said. He was later pronounced dead.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m. Monday, a 19-year-old man was fatally shot on the first block of East 36th Place in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood, said Sweeney, who did not immediately have information on the circumstances of the shooting. The man suffered a wound to the back and was driven to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center. He was transferred in critical condition to Stroger Hospital, where he later died, Sweeney said.

Another man was fatally shot just after 2:30 p.m. in the 4100 block of North Hamlin Avenue in the city’s Irving Park neighborhood, said Sweeney. According to preliminary information, a 29-year-old man was a passenger in a car when another car pulled alongside, and someone fired shots. The victim suffered gunshot wounds to the torso and was taken in critical condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital, where he later died, Sweeney said.


The single most important thing to be done in order to keep Chicagoans safe is to build more ‘protected bike lanes‘. Not only do these keep bicycle riders from feeling afraid, they actually repel bullets while riding along their lengths.

Reply by J
To the two pairs who tried to Idaho-stop across Clinton earlier:
That only works in the absence of cross traffic, jerks.

According to the Director of the Active Transportation Alliance bike lanes are key in the effort to keep bicyclists from ‘behaving badly‘ because of their fear of automobiles.

Reply by YP
The most pleasant part of my 9 mile commute is a 2.5 mile stretch on Higgins which has no bike pavement markings whatsoever, and yet cars still somehow figure out how to not run me over. Why do people think painting a stripe down is going to make a road good for biking in and of itself? (note to ATA: don’t put a fucking PBL on Higgins)

Reply by IS
Yes, the infrastructure we need are better LAWS, better driver (and cyclist) EDUCATION and ENFORCEMENT.

The fact that speed “limits” are viewed as “minimum required speed (and even then only when the cops are watching)” is a testimony on the mental state of the driving masses

Reply by JS
Painted bike lanes are mostly symbolic of the community’s desire to enhance safety for cyclists (just like painted crosswalks). But any bike lane (or crosswalk) that can physically be reached by autos only provides a safety advantage when drivers decide to respect it. When bike lanes are used for auto loading zones and mobile phone parking lots, they are useles. They can even be more dangerous than no lane at all if cyclists foolishly assume that drivers will follow posted instructions (e.g., in Evanston, where large signs, instructing right-turning drivers to yield to cyclists in the adjacent bike lane, are completely ignored).

Designing effective bike infra for a community in which drivers follow the law would be easy. Designing bike infra that enhances safety despite the tendency of many or most drivers to ignore or wilfully disobey the law is much more difficult.

Obviously some cyclists are unaware of the SuperPowers of bike lanes to prevent crime, eradicate poverty and ignorance and other secondary concerns for the overall betterment of our Fair City.

It is time to close another 50 schools and erect not only 6 inch high curbs around the bike lines (like the 0.25 mile section created in Douglas Park) but be it known far and wide that here in Chicago bike lanes ward off flying bullets as well.

Reply by LC
I have only been commuting for four years. Bicycle infrastructure is a double-edged sword. It makes people feel safer and gets them on bikes. More bikes = more awareness. But some of the infrastructure also gives riders a false sense of security. I love riding my bike every day. I am reminded of how much I love it whenever I decide public transportation is a better choice. But when I am on my bike, I like to think that my safety in large part depends upon my mantra: “Expect someone (driver, pedestrian, cyclist) to do something stupid every second”.

Reply by EC
Dont worry ATA WILL B 2 BUSY counting their bike the drive dollars$$$$$$ to even think of putting down stripes on higgins, and as far as public trans(pot)atoin/ I really don’t like sitting next to a Blunt Rolling 101 Class given by our outstanding chicago citizens. I will take my chances and ride on our Portland Like Safe streets as (Non Lemmings often will) 🙂

It is a well known fact that not a single hipster plying a bike lane anywhere in the City of Chicago has ever succumbed to gun fire while heading home at night or to work during the day. This is something to celebrate!

Someone from the Chicago Police Department or even a member of the Active Transportation Alliance should explain that while the safest place to be when a tornado strikes is in your basement, the safest place to be in ‘mean streets of summer‘ is riding your local bike lanes.

Where can we get some beers and burgers and smoke a bit of weed to toast our success in making Chicago a better place?