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Drink beer, help unclog bikeways at Bike Lane Uprising’s keg-tapping party on 10/29

Over the last couple of years Bike Lane Uprising has emerged as a key player in the Chicago bike advocacy scene that's also having a nationwide influence.

Tech worker Christina Whitehouse launched the organization after a June 2016 incident in which the driver of a commercial truck made a right turn across the bike lane she was cycling in without yielding, aka a "right hook," almost running her over. That year right-turning truckers fatally struck three female or gender-nonconforming bike riders in Chicago, and seriously injured a fourth.

In response to this harrowing incident, Whitehouse created the Bike Lane Uprising platform as an easy way for people on bikes to report bike lane obstructions. That data is helpful for identifying problem spots, as well as lobbying city agencies to take action, and pressuring companies to educate their drivers about safe and considerate practices around cyclists and bikeways. You can now report bike lane issues via BLU in almost 100 cities and growing.

Christina Whitehouse. Photo: Lynda Lopez
Christina Whitehouse. Photo: Lynda Lopez
Christina Whitehouse. Photo: Lynda Lopez

With a wide-reaching presence on social media, Bike Lane Uprising has also been helpful in getting the word out to Chicago bike advocates about action items such as meetings and petitions. The organization has also shown support for the families of fallen cyclists, quickly mobilizing dozens of cyclists to ride to crash sites for "human-protected bike lane" vigils to raise awareness of the need for safer infrastructure. And recently BLU raised money for 400 sets of bike lights to give away for free to cyclists who need them.

Here's a fun way you can support Bike Lane Uprising's work this month. On Thursday, October 29, at Haymarket Brewing, 725 W. Randolph St., BLU will be celebrating the release of its mobile app by tapping the first-ever keg of Bike Lane Uprising-branded beer at 6 p.m. sharp. (Apparently they took a pass on my suggestions for Curb-Protected Cream Ale, Parking-Protected Porter, Raised Bike Lane Rye Beer, Side Path Stout, and Paint Is Not Protection Pilsner.) Attendees will be encouraged to maintain social distance.

The bikeway-themed beer will likely be available for a week at Haymarket, which has relatively COVID-safe outdoor seating. And to sweeten the deal, no joke, people who order the beer must pledge not to obstruct bike lanes before they receive a pint.

To help raise money for its work, Bike Lane Uprising will be selling its many varieties of BLU-branded schwag, from t-shirts to face masks to baby onesies, in the beer garden. There will also be a costumed bike ride (obviously, please be sure not to ride intoxicated), with a free Timbuk2 pannier awarded to the person with the best outfit.

If you can't make it to the keg-tapping, consider chipping in to support Bike Lane Uprising's work.

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