Today’s Headlines

  • RTA Investigating Ventra Snafus (Tribune, NBC)
  • Local Politicans Unhappy With Low DBE Participation in Ventra Contract (Sun-Times)
  • Preckwinkle Appoints Ex-Banker to RTA Board (Tribune)
  • Driver hits 4 Cars and Flees After Fight Near Zoo; No Injuries (Tribune)
  • After Pedestrian Injuries, New Stoplight at Broadway/Balmoral (DNA)
  • One Month Later, Red Line Rehab Still Getting Rave Reviews (Active Trans)
  • Why Guys Like John Kass Are so Upset About Cycling (Chicago)
  • Discussing Divvy Design (DNA)
  • A Message From a “Little Bike Person” to the “Extra-Large Car People” (RedEye)
  • The Bicycle Film Festival Returns to Chicago (DNA)
  • Ventra Rappers Talk About Their Song (DNA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Kevin M

    I *really* like Brian Moore’s piece in the RedEye on “Extra-Large Car People”. I’m genuinely bored with the cheap-shot, click-baiting, theatrical war-of-words from Kass and others of his stink. Moore’s piece turns Kass and crew on their heads using some of their very own language.

  • CL

    I thought the Kass column was ridiculous, but responding by calling drivers jerks and douches doesn’t exactly help.

  • CL

    I don’t think Kass is sophisticated enough to oppose cycling for the reasons in the Chicago Magazine article (that it’s part of demographic shifts causing some suburbs to decline). I think it’s more about being annoyed about losing road space to cyclists, having to deal with driving behind them, and watching out for them as they weave through traffic, run lights, or appear beside him when he wanted to turn or change lanes. Cyclists inconvenience drivers (if only for a couple of seconds at a time) and make the roads more chaotic and unpredictable — I think Kass is one of those people who sees bikes and thinks, “They’re in my way, get out of my way.”

    Drivers rarely think about how cycling might be alleviating congestion, since it gives people an A-to-B option that means they’re not stuck in traffic, taking up space in front of John Kass. That’s an invisible benefit to motorists, while the 15-second inconvenience of waiting for an opportunity to pass a cyclist is visible… combined with all of the us vs. them arguing about how to share the roads. Anyway, I don’t subscribe to the digital version of the Tribune so I can’t read his full columns, but that’s my impression from what I’ve read.

  • BlueFairlane

    I think there’s also an odd kind of territorialism that infects many people in this region, not just drivers, and it manifests itself in people like Kass as an us-vs-them conflict. Bike are encroaching on his territory, by his way of thinking, and it doesn’t really matter whether they actually slow him down or not. Simply having them there is an insult in itself.

    Add to that the over-inflated sense of outrage people like Kass feel about things they deem unfair. (His entire career is built on pointless outrage mustered for little effect, after all.) He watches some bicyclist run a light he has to sit for, for instance, and it doesn’t matter whether the bicyclist did it safely, or whether anybody in a car had to slow down or whether there weren’t any cars visible at all. To Kass, the bicyclist is getting a benefit he’s not getting. The driver isn’t getting a fair shake, as Kass would likely put it, and that’s just not fair.

  • CL

    I think that’s very true — there is a lot of resentment toward cyclists, which is why drivers obsess over the ones who run lights.

    But cyclists are exactly the same — there is plenty of hostility toward drivers in the cycling community. Both sides are guilty of resentment, stereotyping, and assuming the worst.

  • The difference is, the resentment towards lawbreaking drivers is warranted, since motorists kill over 100 people a year in Chicago. The resentment against lawbreaking cyclists is largely unwarranted, since infractions by people on bikes are a relatively trivial safety issue.

  • CL

    Sure, but a lot of cyclists resent all drivers, not just lawbreaking drivers. There’s a sense that motorists’ use of the road is illegitimate because of the negative externalities of driving, while biking is the morally superior choice. So instead of being “people using the best option for their busy day given the alternatives,” drivers are selfish for driving at all.

    But I think most of the resentment just comes from vehicles that aren’t really meant to share space, having to share space. Combined with debates over how we should allocate that space. Conflict is inevitable. Protected bike lanes might calm frustrations on both sides over time, once people get used to them and stop thinking “whoa who put this here?”

  • BlueFairlane

    I agree with that completely, as this is something that exists across the board. (I occasionally argue that there’s a regional component to this, but that tends to make locals mad.) I’ve been with other cyclists and seen some driver pull something far off down the road … say, moving into the bike lane to get around somebody who’d stopped to make a left turn or something similar. The cyclists take this as some great insult, despite the fact that the lane was clear, there weren’t any cyclists anywhere nearby, and the move didn’t affect anybody’s life in the least. But that car just wasn’t supposed to be there!

  • duppie

    I am looking forward to using the light at Broadway and Balmoral. Until now there was no safe and legal eastbound crossing between Bryn Mawr and Anslie, causing me to salmon a block on Catalpa.

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