Allegedly intoxicated driver injured woman, 64, on bike at Belmon/Western/Clybourn

The aftermath of the crash. Photo: AJ LaTrace
The aftermath of the crash. Photo: AJ LaTrace

Chicago’s epidemic of traffic violence against bike riders continued Saturday afternoon as a driver who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs struck and injured a woman biking in the North Center neighborhood.

According to police, on Saturday, October 8 at around 1:20 p.m., the driver of a 2001 Audi A4 sedan was traveling west on Belmont Avenue (3200 N.) at Western (2400 W.) and Clybourn avenues. Belmont widens from two lanes to five lanes at this wide, complex, five-way junction, which encourages speeding. The intersection was widened in 2017 as part of a project to remove an overpass several years ago, arguably making it more dangerous rather safer.

Aerial view of the intersection. Image: Google Maps
Aerial view of the intersection. Image: Google Maps

The driver then veered north onto the sidewalk, striking a 64-year-old woman on a bike and a light pole at the northwest corner, in front of a Cook County Circuit Court building. Photos taken a few hours after the crash by Streetsblog contributor AJ LaTrace show a badly damaged road bike, and the car with severe front-end damage.

The woman was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver was charged with one felony count of aggravated DUI involving a crash with bodily harm and cited for driving without a valid license. He was identified as Miguel Cortes Navarro, 33, a resident of nearby Avondale. The crash report states that the incident was captured by a police surveillance camera at the intersection.

The crash took place two blocks east of the southern trailhead of the 312 RiverRun trail system. This stretch of Belmont has no bike facilities except for “shared lane markings,” bike-and-chevron symbols painted on the pavement. In this part of town, Clybourn has non-protected bike lanes that terminate at Belmont.

Belmont between Western and Kedzie Avenue (3200 W.) is slated to get protected bike lanes. Bike advocates have recently been pushing for the installation of fully-protected lanes on Belmont between Ashland Avenue (1600 W.) and the Lakefront Trail as part of a street repaving project.

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