Today’s Headlines

  • Ordinance Would Double Fine for Dooring, Raise Fees for Cycling Violations (Sun-Times)
  • Owner of Rib Joint Says Red Line Shutdown Will Hurt Business (Sun-Times)
  • Maldonado Stopped for Passing on Right, Accuses Cop of Racism (Tribune, Sun-Times)
  • CTA: De-Crowding Plan is Improving Commutes (CTA)
  • City Having Trouble Severing Ties With Troubled Red Light Cam Vendor (Tribune)
  • CTA to Continue Running 4 U. of Chicago Bus Routes (RedEye)
  • Man Involved in Fatal Kane County Crash Had Heroin in System (Tribune)
  • 5, Including 2 Kids, Hurt in Portage Park Crash (Tribune)
  • Belmont/Western Overpass Not Coming Down Anytime Soon (DNA)
  • Repairing Slow Zones Is a Sisyphean Task (Tattler)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • The doubled fines for people breaking traffic laws while bicycling probably won’t make a dent in behavior because the police don’t seem interested in enforcement.

  • CL

    I had no idea the maximum fine was only $25. Not that it really matters, because like you said, the police don’t enforce traffic laws for cyclists. I only know one person who has received a ticket on a bike, and it was for cycling on the sidewalk (which is illegal, sure, but not as dangerous as running lights.)

  • Did you see the Trib? The front page headline is “Higher fines for cyclists.” It does not mention the higher fines for drivers as well. That’s how you get pageviews. And don’t scroll to the comments!!!

    I do not think that cyclists and drivers deserve the same fine, and find the mayor’s fine increase more of a “stunt” than actual action. Every morning I see cops sitting on LSD pulling over drivers but I never see any on the actual streets where people are walking and biking and at greater risk of injury or death at the hands of a driver. The police need to start actually enforcing driving laws; the last I checked it seems that the police just pull over bikes to make drivers happy when every. single. day. I see drivers running stop signs, speeding down streets, ignoring crosswalks, etc…..

  • CL

    Cyclists won’t pay anywhere near the same fines. They’re talking about raising fines for cyclists from just $25 (!) to 50-200 dollars, while dooring would be $1000. We already give drivers much greater fines.

  • We’re trying to find out what the range of fines are for people driving and for people biking.

  • Also important to see what the person ends up paying, too, as many courts will reduce the fine if you show up to contest it.

  • One of the reasons police don’t seem interested in enforcement is that it’s not really worth their while for $25 tickets. Higher fines will hopefully prompt CPD to take enforcement more seriously and reexamine their procedures for both doorings and people breaking laws while cycling.

    As people on bikes start to make up a significant amount of traffic, it’ll also be crucial for people to show better behavior and for rules of the road to be enforced, largely to allow us to safely coexist with each other. I’m finding it’s more and more common across the city to come to intersections where there are other people on bikes approaching from every other direction at the same time. At night I’ve pulled up to lights where there are only bikes waiting on each side and no cars. I probably don’t need to explain what might happen if people biking through an intersection from all directions all assumed anyone else crossing would stop. People may be able to get away with flaunting the rules if they’re the only one on a bike doing it, but those rules and the impact of breaking them will become less infinitesimal and much more important to all of us when bikes are everywhere.

    Press is also an effective way to raise awareness and educate the public. Increasing the fines is generating a good amount press to bring attention to the dooring issue, while the stickers in cabs and on meters will help cement “dooring” into Chicago’s vocabulary.

  • Speaking of press and dooring… I noticed that the number of reported dooring crashes increased greatly after the many articles in the press in spring and summer 2011. The spring and summer of 2012 saw fewer reported dooring crashes.

    So I greatly believe in the power of the press to increase awareness about dooring. I don’t believe the higher fines will make a difference for the next several years as the city and its partners try to raise cycling ridership to 5% of all trips by 2015.

  • khalil

    What bugs me is that rather than eliminate door zone bike lanes, the city paints a dangerous facility and then raises fines on those who commit serious but predictable errors. Its as though we would paint passing zones on blind curves and then fine people who cause head-on crashes. Is it not better to build a good design rather than fine people for misusing a bad design? Those one grand fines will not magically undo the damage to a dead or injured cyclist.