Today’s Headlines

  • Divvy Introduces Discounted Student Memberships (Sun-Times)
  • Jeff Park NIMBYs Grouse That P-Streets Would Create Parking Crunch (DNA)
  • Hyde Parkers Brainstorm Ideas for a More Livable 55th Street (DNA)
  • Victims of Out-of-Control Driver Included Nuns Who Served at a Hospital (Tribune)
  • Theater Community Honors Actress Killed by Falling Tree on N. Branch Trail (Tribune)
  • After Closure for Byrne Interchange Work, Morgan Street Bridge Reopens (DNA)
  • Arlington Heights Is Seeking Public Input for Bike and Ped Plan (Tribune)
  • Ventra Is Not Living Up to Its Potential for “Flexible, Convenient Amenities” (RedEye)
  • Pedicabbers Continues to Fight Against Loop Ban (Reuters)
  • Loyola Launches Online Survey to Name New Pedestrian Plaza (DNA)
  • Tribune Publishes a Hilarious “Get Off My Lawn” Bikelash Piece, Chicagoist Responds

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  • Vintage tribune bike bashing.

    Has there been a pedestrian death in Illinois caused by a biker in the past 10 years? I don’t mean that rhetorically, i honestly couldn’t find one reported anywhere. I assume it’s happened but i can’t find any record of it. I did find an IDOT report that said 136 pedestrians were killed in accidents (presumably involving a car) in 2011.

  • Andy

    The tribune is just desperate to cling on to its aging curmudgeon base. Luckily it is of negligible and waning influence.

  • SP_Disqus

    Damn, that really sucks that one time a bicyclist was negligent and you were close to being in an accident. I used to write articles every time a car was negligent, but it was taking up too much of my time.

  • duppie

    And since this stuff sits behind a paywall, it’s audience has been limited even more. If SB hadn’t posted about it, I would never have known of it’s existence.

  • I’ve looked in the past and couldn’t find any records at all of a pedestrian dying after a crash with a cyclist in Chicago.

  • Anne A

    Morgan is finally open again over the Ike? Yeah!!!

  • Kevin M

    Yup, I took it this morning. Fancy new (and wide) bike lanes across it, too.

  • Anne A

    Even better. :)

  • Anne A

    I first heard about the horrifying Oak Lawn crash a while after it happened. I often need to drive some portion of 95th St. The mix of congestion and speeding (depending on location and time of day) can be quite scary, even when the situation isn’t as extreme as what happened on Sunday. We don’t know exactly what caused the driver to act as he did. Given conditions on 95th St., I think it’s a miracle that we don’t have serious crashes there more often than we do.

    Much of 95th St. could be considered a stroad – 6 lines or more in width, alternating between congested areas and open ones with excessive speeds, difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to cross. I see some speed enforcement, but when frequent red lights and heavy retail density create hurry-up-and-wait situations, and lots of road rage. The fact that it’s a major truck route with 5 grade crossings between the Tri-State and the Dan Ryan increases the challenges.

    Given the mix of uses and the fact that it’s a state road (with IDOT’s resistance to change), it’s likely to remain dangerous for the foreseeable future. And I will continue to avoid 95th St. as much as possible for my safety and sanity.

  • rohmen

    Like most on here probably, I think the author’s rant on pedestrian/bike interactions is a bit ridiculous in the grand scheme of dangers pedestrians face in the City while walking.

    That said, I think it’s hard to say that just because there hasn’t been a death, that serious accidents do not happen between cyclists and pedestrians with any regularity in Chicago, or at a minimum that the possibility of an accident which would cause serious harm isn’t present. A person can end up pretty messed up from an accident short of dying, as we see all too often when cars and bicycles collide for example. While a pedestrian maybe hasn’t been killed in Chicago by a cyclist, that doesn’t mean pedestrians have not been seriously injured as a result of crashes (which I assume would be something much harder to track, as accidents without a death would likely go unreported outside of anecdotal stories).

  • whetstone

    True. But the author ultimately seems uninterested in actually minimizing aggressive cyclists. To go from “the Dutch ride slow and stately” to “the solution is to ban bikes for a day” is… a grand leap of logic. I’d be interested in asking why the Dutch might be more considerate cyclists and how Chicago could go further to achieve that, but I’m let down yet again.

  • But isn’t that the point? It’s absurd to be fearful of being injured by a biker when far more people are killed by cars. It’s like the Sundance Kid worrying about not being able to swim before he jumps off a cliff. Any logical analysis reveals most bike bashing articles as more political than anything.

    It’s practically impossible for a courteous biker to cause anything more than bumps and scratches to anyone around them. The most damage the jerkiest biker can do is maybe concussions/broken bones/large cuts.
    Competent, law-abiding drivers accidentally kill people all the time. Aggressive or incompetent drivers, like the one who killed the nuns down in Oak Lawn, can wreck outright havoc.

  • FG

    I think my neighbor with a permanent limp from being hit by a sidewalk cyclist would disagree with that statement.

  • rohmen

    No doubt cars have the potential to cause more destructive injuries, and given the amount of cars on the road vs. bikes I have no problem agreeing it is much more likely that you would be hit by a negligent car driver than a negligent cyclist when walking around the City on a day-to-day basis.

    But there’s a big difference between saying you are statistically more likely to be hit by a negligent driver than a cyclist, and saying its “absurd” to be fearful of being injured by a cyclist.

    As FG notes, injuries do happen, and there are cyclists who are negligent when operating around pedestrians. Hell, I even have an anecdotal story where I was cycling with a friend and he did something admittedly stupid during a right-on-red situation that caused a collision with a pedestrian (she wasn’t hurt luckily). The trib article goes way, way too far; but that doesn’t mean the actions of a reckless cyclists from a pedestrian perspective is something that warrants little to no concern in general.

    You’re right, articles that call reckless cyclists’ conduct out often stem from a certain political viewpoint. But I also find the reaction to said articles where people refuse to discuss/admit recklessness by cyclists as constituting a problem at all as being just as political in the opposite direction.

  • It definitely warrants little concern. You even demonstrate it yourself where there is a collision and no one was hurt; a situation that almost never occurs with cars hitting pedestrians. People certainly do get hurt from collisions with bikers but it happens so infrequently and with comparatively little consequence that it seems ridiculous to identify that as a major concern. Heck, I’d be willing to bet that the number of pedestrians injured in trip/slip and falls due to dilapidated paving is just as high as those injured by bikers. Yet I don’t see much editorial fervor for increased sidewalk construction.

    Take this article from the gothamist from a few years back: http://gothamist.com/2011/09/19/pedestrians_are_hit_by_more_bicycli.php

    The real key is the last line: 70,000 injured from cars and several hundred deaths versus 1,000 injured from bikes, occasionally requiring hospitalization, and zero deaths. And that is in one of the densest collection of bikers in the country. The gap would only grow when considered nationwide.

    Do those 1,000 injure in NYC require some concern? Sure, but not much. For that big of disparity and for all the vitriol newspaper writers seem willing to fling at bikers, I can’t recall a single editorial criticizing drivers for acting unsafely. It becomes a little hard to take any discussion on pedestrian safety seriously when it focuses on ped-bike collisions.

  • 95th is in interesting study on how having so many groups with jurisdiction over a single street can lead to disaster. The development and design of the road is just an absolute disaster from Chicago to the tri-state.

    Proof of how much of a mess 95th is? I just went on google maps to see how long the drive on 95th from 294 to the dan ryan is and google told me the quickest way to make that drive is to take the tristate to 55 to the dan ryan. Yikes.