It’s Been a Bad Week for Hit-and-Run Violence Against Bike and Scooter Riders

A driver critically injured a Divvy rider in River North early this morning and fled the scene. Image: ABC Chicago
A driver critically injured a Divvy rider in River North early this morning and fled the scene. Image: ABC Chicago

The last ten days have been tumultuous ones in Chicago, with the launch of the dockless electric scooter pilot on June 15. On the bright side, the 2,500 scooters in the West and Northwest Side pilot area have seen great use, with 11,000 rides taken in the first weekend, and 60,000 trips within the first seven days. The latter number comes to an impressive 3.4 trips per scooter per day.

But we’ve already seen the scooters involved in many injury cases, with around ten reported ER visits, including 2 patients requiring surgery, by the middle of last week, according to a WBBM news report and calls I made to several hospitals. And last Thursday saw a horrific scooter/bike crash, in which the scooter rider fled the scene. Sadly, also last week there was a case of a bicyclist intentionally pushing a scooter rider to the ground, causing multiple injuries, and then taking off.

And, while this has been a pretty good year so far for bike/car crashes in Chicago, with no fatalities to date, within the last few days there were two incidents where hit-and-run drivers injured people on bikes, one of them critically. Here’s a rundown of some of the more serious bike and scooter injury cases, in roughly chronological order.

Allyson Medeiros. Photo via Instagram
Allyson Medeiros. Photo via Instagram

Wrong-way scooter rider seriously injures bicyclist, flees the scene

On early Thursday evening, an e-scooter user riding against traffic struck a cyclist on Division Street in Wicker Park and fled, leaving the victim unconscious with serious facial injuries, Block Club reported.

At around 5:30 p.m., Allyson Medeiros, 32, was biking at Division and Leavitt Street when he saw the male scooter rider “weaving in and out of traffic,” according to police. After striking the cyclist, the scooter user left the scene. Medeiros, who was unconscious for several minutes, was taken to Stroger Hospital by a motorist. The scooter rider was not immediately apprehended.

Medeiros suffered fractures to his jaw, nose, eye socket, and palate; four broken teeth, and lacerations requiring 20 stitches, and there were also issues with air getting in his chest cavity. The cyclist, who works as a tattoo artist, has no health insurance, so friends have launched a GoFundMe to help cover his medical bills.

As of this afternoon, $7,174 had been raised out of a $10,000 goal. “I am extremely happy and grateful for what happened compared to what could have happened and even more grateful to everyone that is being so helpful and loving with me right now,” Medeiros wrote on Instagram. Kudos to the guy for maintaining such a positive attitude after such a horrific incident.

Bicyclist assaults scooter rider, causing serious injuries, flees

On the afternoon of Friday, June 21, the woman behind the pro-scooter Twitter feed Chicago Scooter Are Fine posted that a scooter rider had shared a police report and hospital forms with them after being assaulted on Milwaukee Avenue by a bike rider.

According to CSAF, the scooter rider, who wished to remain anonymous and didn’t want the specifics of the case shared with the media, was traveling on Milwaukee when the cyclist pushed them over, and then fled. Another bike rider stopped to aid the victim and called the police.

“The scooter rider fell into the street, dislocated their shoulder, and broke their elbow and wrist,” CSAF tweeted. “They are recovering but in a lot of pain… A friendly reminder that bike lanes are to be shared between cyclists and scooter riders, whether you like it or not.”

Indeed, while it’s understandable that some cyclists are annoyed by having to share limited bikeway space with electric vehicles, there is absolutely no justification for this kind of violence. The assailant should be held fully accountable for their actions.

The 3300 block of West Jackson Boulevard. Image: Google Maps
The 3300 block of West Jackson Boulevard. Image: Google Maps

Hit-and-run driver injures teenage boy on bike in East Garfield Park

On the afternoon of Saturday, June 22, a motorist hit a boy, 17, on his bicycle in the 3300 block of West Jackson Boulevard in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.

At about 4:38 p.m., the teen exited an alley and made a westbound turn into a bike lane, according to Officer Jessica Alvarez from New Affairs. The westbound driver struck the boy, knocking him off his bike, and fled the scene.

The victim was transported to Mt. Sinai Hospital in stable condition. As of this afternoon, no one was in custody.

Surveillance footage shows the speeding driver passing the third of three cyclists before critically injuring the first one.
Surveillance footage shows the speeding driver passing the third of three cyclists before critically injuring the first one.

Driver critically injures Divvy rider in River North, flees the scene

Early this morning, a motorist critically injured a 32-year-old man on a Divvy in River North and fled the scene.

At about 1:15 a.m. the man was biking west with a female companion in the 400 block of West Grand Avenue, according to Officer Alvarez. A westbound driver in a dark-colored sedan, possibly a Honda or Toyota, struck the man and fled west. The female cyclist was not injured.

The victim was transported to Northwestern Hospital in critical condition. As of this afternoon there was no update on his condition, and the driver had not been apprehended.

Surveillance video posted by ABC Chicago, shows that a third cyclist, not traveling with the pair, was trailing behind them. The video shows the driver speeding towards the cyclists, striking the victim just off-frame. The footage indicates that the crash took place on or near the Grand Avenue bridge.

  • Benjamin Gembler

    Any information on number of Divvy trips the past seven days, and whether the 8,000-9,000 daily scooter trips are impacting Divvy use appreciably
    or not?

  • Jennifer Melfi

    so… 10 accidents out of 60000 rides in the first 7 days… like 0.00016 rate…. that’s pretty good numbers… considering that the denominator will likely stay the same or slightly move up and down based on the week (holidays), but I feel strongly that the absolute number of incidents will go down.

  • yakutat

    for a comparison, in 2016, after its first two years, Divvy reported 18 accidents out of 3,200,000 rides. Not everything is reported of course, but the scooter program is about 30 times as dangerous as Divvy. Not looking that great.

  • Allan Marshall

    I’d sure like to see newer Divvy ridership data, to see if Divvy usage is down as of late. I doubt many riders who mainly use Divvy will ride a scooter instead, except to try it once or perhaps twice out of curiosity. Which I admit I might try doing once, just to see what those scooters are like. I suspect I’ll still prefer to bike, but who knows?

  • Benjamin Gembler

    Agreed. From what i hear anecdotally, Divvy ridership since the scooter pilot has not been going down. If anything, ridership may be increasing. We’ll see when the 2nd and 3rd quarter ridership data gets released.