There Have Been Three Serious Bike Crashes and Four Deaths in Last 12 Days

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A woman rides a bike in Wicker Park, near the location where a 15-year-old boy was struck and injured this morning. Photo: John Greenfield

It’s almost starting to feel like Bicycling magazine naming Chicago as the nation’s best bike city last week has turned into a curse. In the two weeks since that announcement on Monday, September 19, the region has seen the following bike fatalities and crashes with injuries requiring hospitalization:

  • On Monday, September 19, around 2 p.m. Wlodzimierz Woroniecki, 60, was struck and killed by a motorcyclist while cycling in west-suburban Franklin Park.
  • On Thursday, September 22, at about 2 p.m. a 14-year-old girl was seriously injured by an SUV driver while biking from school in southwest-suburban Plainfield.
  • On Thursday, September 22, at around 5 p.m., Northwestern student Chuyuan Qiu, 18, died after colliding with a concrete truck by the university’s campus in north-surburban Evanston.
  • On Friday, September 23, at around 4 p.m., Naperville resident Danielle Palagi, 26, was struck by a semi driver by the Chicago’s Illinois Medical Campus, sustaining injuries that required the amputation of her foot.
  • On Sunday, September 25, at 2:59 a.m. pizzeria worker Nick Fox, 52, died from injuries sustained in a June train/bike crash in Clearing.
  • On Monday, September 26, at 7:50 a.m. health coach Anastasia Kondrasheva, 23, was struck and killed by a flatbed truck driver in Roscoe Village.

This morning there was yet another bike crash case to add to the list. At 7:36 a.m., a 15-year old male was struck and injured by the northbound driver of a 2002 Nissan Sentra compact car in the 1500 block of North Damen Avenue in Wicker Park, according to Officer Thomas Sweeney from Police News Affairs.

The teen was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in stable condition and was expected to survive, according to Sweeney. No citations have been issued to the driver. This post will be updated if additional information becomes available.

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Memorial to fallen cyclist Chuyuan Qiu by the Northwestern campus in Evanston, as seen yesterday. Photo: John Greenfield

Bicycling was correct that, in many respects, Chicago is a great place to ride a bike. Our many miles of buffered and protected bike lanes, the extensive Divvy bike-share system, the Bloomingdale Trail, and our vibrant cycling community are just some of the reasons why.

But it’s obvious that four bike fatalities and three serious injury crashes in the region (including two deaths and two injury cases within the city limits) within the space of twelve days is unacceptable. We still have a long way to go before biking in Chicago is a truly safe activity.

This afternoon the Active Transportation Alliance responded to the current bike crash epidemic by launching a campaign to hold the city government accountable for immediately taking steps to improve safety.

“We are deeply unsettled by recent fatalities on our roadways involving people walking and riding bikes,” states their new Vision Zero — Call to Action web page. “We call for a comprehensive array of steps to eliminate all types of traffic fatalities, including: enhancing commercial vehicle regulation, reducing dangerous speeding, restricting right turns in dangerous locations, expanding education for all, improving our infrastructure and street design, and fairly enforcing traffic laws.” They’re asking residents to sign an online petition urging City Council to implement these proven measures.

You can also show your support for safer streets and honor Anastasia Kondrasheva at tonight’s candlelight vigil and ghost bike installation at the Addison/Damen crash site, taking place from 6:30 to 7 p.m., rain or shine. More than 200 people have RSVPed on Facebook that they will attend.

For the second Friday in a row I have to say, everybody please be careful out there this weekend. Let’s do all we can to make Chicago not just a great, but a safe, place to bike.

Update 10/1/16: A DNA info report on the Wicker park crash has quotes from witnesses who say the collision happened in the middle of the six-way North/Damen/Milwaukee intersection.

Streetblog Chicago will be on vacation on Monday and will resume publication on Tuesday.

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