Map: Where drivers have fatally struck people biking on Chicago’s Milwaukee Avenue
The hit-and-run death of cyclist Nick Paringayan last Wednesday night in the Irving Park neighborhood was only the latest of at least five cases of drivers killing bike riders on Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago’s busiest biking street, in the last 20 years. As of 2017, in the warmer months, up to 5,000 people were biking on Milwaukee a day, exceeding the number of motor vehicles at some locations during rush hours.
“This tragic and preventable crash is just the latest example of how Chicago officials are failing to protect people biking on city streets,” Active Transportation Alliance spokesperson Kyle Whitehead told Streetsblog yesterday. “Milwaukee Avenue has been identified as a major bike corridor in every bike plan the city puts out, yet less than 15 percent of it features protected bike lanes. If Milwaukee Avenue is mostly unsafe and uncomfortable for people on bikes, what hope is there for every other major corridor in the city?”
Here’s a map of the five crash sites. Click on the bike icons for more info.
And here’s a brief rundown of the five cases.
- On July 9, 2003, Rob Heinbockel, 49, was fatally struck by at drunk driver at Milwaukee and Gale Street in the Jefferson Park neighborhood.
- On August 16, 2016, Art Institute of Chicago student Lisa Kuivanen, 20, was killed when they were biking on Milwaukee at Racine Avenue in the River West neighborhood and a right-turning flatbed truck driver failed to yield, crushing them.
- On November 6, 2019, school guidance counselor Carla Aiello, 37, was riding southeast in the Milwaukee bike lane when a dump truck driver made a right turn in her path at Kilbourn Avenue in the Irving Park neighborhood, crushing her to death.
- On July 24, 2021, Thomas “Tommy” Travers, 59, was fatally struck by a minivan driver on the 5300 block of Milwaukee Avenue in the Jefferson Park community. The motorist was not cited.
- On May 4, 2022, a hit-and-run driver fatally struck barista Nick Paringayan, 22, on his bike on the 3800 block of Milwaukee Avenue in Irving Park, across the street from where Carla Aiello was killed.
There’s clearly a pattern of cyclists being injured and killed on Milwaukee. Given it’s status as our city’s most popular cycling route, it’s way past time for the city to turn the entire corridor into a bike-priority street. The Chicago Department of Transportation needs to install bikeways with robust physical protection from drivers – such as concrete curb-protected bike lanes or raised bikeways – as soon as possible. Yes, drivers and merchants may push back when this involves converting mixed-traffic lanes or parking lanes to bikeways, but this is obviously a matter of life and death.