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Friday, November 24

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Fuel

Emerson Dameron / July 21, 2005 1:15 AM

Is it illegal now to flip open a cellphone while biking? I always respected people who could do that. But not like the people who bike and puff cigs. Sunglasses at night, babe.

mike / July 21, 2005 2:58 AM

Chicago cops don't care about you unless you're a complete idiot, in the process of stabbing someone, black, hispanic, or doing cocaine off the wrist of a hooker

if you get pulled over on a bike, you're probably an idiot.


CVal / July 21, 2005 6:55 AM

Two letters B.S. and they don't stand for Bicycle Safety.

~L. / July 21, 2005 8:02 AM

This isn't about bicycle safety any more than ticketing for expired dog licenses is about rabies prevention or catching dog-fighting rings. It's only about how much money they can rake in by writing tickets to people who are responsible enough to pay.

It's similar to the new cell phone law. I'm not a fan of talking while driving, but we already had a reckless driving law on the books that could easily have been enforced. Now, though, the city has a reason to write people $50 tickets even if they're not swerving all over the road.

Michael / July 21, 2005 8:31 AM

I look forward to my first high-speed bicycle chase. As long as they don't fire their sidearms at me or lay a road-spike strip, I'll be fine. The bike cops NEVER caught me as a kid and they're not gonna catch me now...

Maggie / July 21, 2005 8:44 AM

Sorry to be the dissenter but I've nearly run over too many bikers. I am very pleased about this. The messenger bikers in the city are not my problem - they ususally move quickly enough to avoid my car. It's the people running stop signs, riding on sidewalks, etc. that have nearly met my bumper. They deserve tickets too.

Erica / July 21, 2005 8:53 AM

Bikes and cars are two different beasts (although I'm always so irritated when bikers roll fast past me in stop-and-go traffic and through stop signs -- not fair!).

Bikes and cars are two different beasts (although I'm always so irritated when bikers roll fast past me in stop-and-go traffic and through stop signs -- not fair!).

Anyway, bikers have certain handicaps that drivers don't have, so they should be given the right of way. They're bikes for goodness sakes, not two-ton SUVs.

L, I never thought of the ticketing scenario you mentioned, but that is so true. Deadbeats get away with everything. It's like the one time I skipped anatomy class my senior year I get busted and sent to the dean's office, but all the fucked up kids who never went to any class somehow got away with everything and managed to graduate. AAAAGH. Now I'm angry and it's only 8:53 am.

Naz / July 21, 2005 9:08 AM

As a dedicated cyclist for life who commutes, races, trains and so on, this is a good thing but one I doubt will be severely enforced. I rarely if ever see bike cops any more west of Clark and mostly only on the lakefront path, downtown and on Halsted. When the weather starts to turn cold, they disappear.

I'm abiding of the rules -- to get respect as a cyclist, you have to respect the rules of the road. Drivers will in most cases, give you that respect too, if they see you abide to the same rules they do.

As a fellow cyclist, it irks me when I see cyclists on sidewalks (it's illegal anyway) and when cyclists go the wrong way down a street, IN THE BIKE LANE towards me. Get out of my way! Get into your own lane! And most of all the silly silly silly cyclists who run lights or stop signs in heavy traffic and are oblivious to the almost accident that might have occurred because of their stupidity. These all tend to be fairweather cyclists.

As for outrunning bike cops, you can do it, but as they say: "You can't outrun Motorola." Try it and you will lose. Pay the fine, don't add evasion of police to your list of grievances.

And as for cars versus bikes in a realistic everyday road sense, as someone else wrote to me about this subject:

"A bike makes a mistake, they are hurt, a car makes a mistake someone could be killed.

Bike = 20lbs of steel
Car/Truck = 2-6 tons."

red / July 21, 2005 9:09 AM

I say give 'em tickets. It's the sidewalk riding idiots that go the wrong way down a oneway street and swerve all over the place that give the rest of us cyclists a bad name and cause a lot of the attitude that we get from the cars.

Steve / July 21, 2005 9:10 AM

Can't say I'm too excited about it, except for the possibility that cyclists downtown may think twice before going the wrong way on a one-way street. I've had too many near-hits as a pedestrian after checking the direction traffic is *supposed* to be moving in before crossing, only to have someone whiz by from the opposite direction.

Cincy / July 21, 2005 9:25 AM

I agree with Naz and red. Cyclists complain that we don't get respect from drivers, but then we don't obey the rules of the road. Drivers are more likely to respect cyclists who don't ride recklessly and who obey the same rules they do, I think. If we appear to be responsible riders CONCERNED FOR OUR OWN SAFETY, then maybe the drivers will look out for us.

And in this hair-trigger-temper world we have, it is in your best interest not to unnecessarily anger someone. Why piss off someone in a 2-ton steel machine by blowing through a stop sign in front of him?

I take issue with Critical Mass for the same reason - you don't get respect from motorists by making them angry. But that's another rant.

Oketo! / July 21, 2005 10:05 AM

I agree about the ticketing thing. I am tired of damn idiots making all bicyclists look bad. And it's just dumb and dangerous to do the things they do. I like the idea that the idiots just get taken care of by getting hit and likely seriously injured, but I don't like the idea that drivers grow to hate bicyclists as well and attempt to make the roads more dangerous to all as a result.

D Arthur / July 21, 2005 10:09 AM

As a proffesional bike messenger I break the rules all day long I could not do my job as weel as I do if I did not. Since I am in the Down Town/Lopp area all day long I see bike cops quite a bit and alos cops on Segway's. Most of them are on crap bikes and obviously out of shape. I even saw a cop on a Huffy! They see me and I see them and they see me do shit that could not possibly be legal and they could care less. This issue is motivated by about 10% saftey and 90% ticket revenue for the city. Yes I break traffic laws but I am a responsible rider and I ride safe. I have no intetnion of changing the way I ride.

carl / July 21, 2005 10:13 AM

Who would disagree with rules and regulations for bikes being enforced? Better yet why disagree with it? Some act as if your kid just called ugly because you will be required to obey a standard set of rules.

Stosh / July 21, 2005 10:24 AM

How about if you got pulled over for breaking the law, you have to sit idle for in your car for an hour? Sort of like being in the penalty box in hockey. No fine would be involved.

If this was the case, when you were late for an appointment, you would have to actually obey all the traffic laws, or your travel time will go up a great deal.

Flynn / July 21, 2005 10:29 AM

While I agree with Naz and red to a degree, as a commuting cyclist, my biggest problem is for valid riding possibilities.

For example, I ride down Ravenswood to get to work. On one way of my commute, that means riding the wrong way on one way streets. Now, it's not like Ravenswood is exactly busy, but what I am doing is still technically "illegal." However, what are my alternatives? Take Ashland? Western? Even Damen is busier than I'd like with cars & trucks using the bike lanes as loading zones, and most of the reason I take the way I do is to avoid major intersections.

And as far as sidewalks: there are only a few places to cross the river and 94. Most of those are VERY busy areas, with lots of turning & ramp traffic. I hop the sidewalk for the part from Clyborn to Webster on Ashland.

I agree that laws are laws, but I also think that if you're careful as a cyclist, *strict* interpretation of laws isn't necessary (as with pedestrians...should everyone wait at a red light to cross if there's *no* traffic?). Cyclists already have it hard enough riding through obstacle courses. Don't give tickets to those folk who are trying to stay AWAY from traffic, give tickets to the flagrant offenders and give the rest of us a break.

Besides, I'd rather take the ticket for riding Ravenswood than have to go through the Damen/Elston/Fullerton (or busier) intersection. I'm not goint to endanger my life to prevent a ticket.

Dunl / July 21, 2005 10:55 AM

If the police are *reasonable* with their enforcement, I think it's a good thing -- especially if it focuses on things like bicyclists on sidewalks or running red lights into pedestrian-crowded crosswalks.

If a cyclist is at a red light, though, and there's no opposing traffic, I think it would be lame if cops decided to ticket if s/he decided to go without waiting for green.

red / July 21, 2005 11:14 AM

I'd like to add one more thing (in response to Oketo!)...as we all know, it's not just the idiots who get hit by the 2 ton steel, more than likely it is those that are obeying the laws who get hit (speaking from personal experience and am having surgery in 2 weeks due to being hit by the 2 ton steel SUV).

chod / July 21, 2005 11:14 AM

Roads were built for cars not bikes

Oketo! / July 21, 2005 11:16 AM

Roads were actually built for streetcars.

j3s / July 21, 2005 11:21 AM

Flynn - I agree about the underpasses, and so do the police. After Alicia was killed last month riding under the viaduct where Division hits 90/94, the police investigator asked me, "Why didn't she just ride on the sidewalk?"

While I sometimes get frustrated with sidewalk riders, there are times when it's ok. I'm glad the police realize it too. The cop said they were considering putting a sign there or something saying it was ok to ride the sidewalk there.

Basically, if following the law is going to endanger your safety, break it. Please everyone, be safe.

JFN / July 21, 2005 11:30 AM

The issue is not about car vs. bicyclist safety. It's about the safety of pedestrians who aren't respected by either! Give out as many tickets as possible, I say. Pedestrians are at constant risk from cars and bikes alike in this city. We can't walk across the street when the light says "WALK" because of bikes AND cars that drive right through red lights. I see near hits EVERY DAY in this city. It's disgusting the amount of recklessness that goes on day after day. And bicyuclists who ride on sidewlaks and scream out "ON YOUR LEFT!" to senior citizens and little kids burn me up the most. Stay off the damn sidewalks! Period. Have some respect for pedestrians and maybe the tickets wouldn't have to be initiated at all.

kara / July 21, 2005 11:34 AM

i agree that some rules must be broken for cyclists to stay safe - at least until all drivers are keeping an eye out for bikers. in the past month, i was hit by two cars on my ride home from work at the same intersection (a cab driver failing to use a signal and some lady gabbing on her cell phone) despite the fact i was obeying all traffic laws. now, i always hop on the sidewalk through this intersection and would take serious issue if i received a ticket for doing so.

Naz / July 21, 2005 11:41 AM

Flynn - I agree. Note that I said I'm not fond of other cyclists coming at me on a bike lane. I've actually been riding Ravenswood quite a bit lately, in the evenings just to explore. What I didn't realize is that it has another side! On the other side of the tracks you can flow on the one ways, the other way. That might be a possibility? Not sure how far it extends or goes for with the east side, but maybe it's worth looking into.

I do break the law on occasion, as Jes noted, in certain areas, especially the underpasses, I take the sidewalk. Case in point - North Avenue. When going west and I want to go towards the Division/Ashland area, I cut over at Stanleys to the south side sidewalk and ride that west pass the underpass on the sidewalk and exit right at the end of the underpass and into the neighbourhood right next to the highway. In those cases, knowing full well that cars are completely hairy coming off and on 90/94, I'd take the sidewalk anyday. And I think the cops would agree there too. (As they did in Alicia's case.) Safety first, tickets later.

D Arthur - I'm not worried about messengers. Since a few of my friends are messengers and I ride a track bike, there's a different flow at work. Messengers usually know how to ride in traffic and do it well, never to the detriment of others. I'm not saying it's an exception per se, but their antics happen in a smaller and limited area: downtown. It's the nature of that beast.

That said, again, I don't think the bike cops are out in force in a lot of areas. Limited to the lakefront, Halsted, maybe Clark, mostly Lakeview. And if anything, they're going after the fairweather riders.

On another note, I don't foot-down my stop signs. I slow to a crawl, and if need be, trackstand (basically stand still while on bike) for a bit until it's my turn or I'm actually flowing with the car that's going.

My attitude is to be cautious, alert and adapt if need be.

carl / July 21, 2005 11:41 AM

Roads were actually built for horses. Bring back the horses!

Naz / July 21, 2005 11:46 AM

JFN - then pedestrians had better do the same. And peds are the worst - I know, because I've done it too. Come on, everyday, every minute, hundreds of people jaywalk or walk against "Don't Walk" signs when there are no cars or even if there are a one or two cars.

The worst kind are the ones who do not walk at a crossing but anywhere they want whilst traffic is at a stand still and they never look to see if a cyclist is coming down the side -- I see this accident all the time.

If cars and bikes get tickets, then so should pedestrians. Do you know how many jaywalking tickets would be given out every minute if that was regulated?

Andrew / July 21, 2005 11:50 AM

Naz, the Ravenswood twin on the west side of the Metra tracks isn't contiguous. It'll go for a mile or so and then dead end.

Nashville / July 21, 2005 12:06 PM

In response to Chod... your individualistic and careless regard for others and the long-term sustainability of resources and human life is not only arrogant and ignorant, but entirely too common amongst Americans today. Thankfully, you'll get your just desserts while you sit in congestion and traffic fumes while I am whizzing by on my way to the blue and beautiful Lake Michigan.
But I imagine your pathetic ego is gratified that someone responded to your intentionally stupid remark.

charlie d / July 21, 2005 12:19 PM

The city says.....MONEY MONEY MONEY MOOONAY!

I say.....Be PRO BIKE not ANTI CAR.

You must earn the respect you so desire.

anna / July 21, 2005 12:27 PM

I bike to work several times a week and I admit that I'm often in violation of traffic laws in an attempt to make myself safer -- i.e., riding the wrong way on a less-congested one-way street rather than Lawrence, etc. However, I have now vowed to make every reasonable attempt to follow the laws. At least the ones that make sense.

But I say if they're cracking down on bikers on the streets, then they should also be getting much tougher on non-biking idiots on the lakefront bike path. I'm pretty certain the jerks who play frisbee on the path or talk on their phone with their kids running across it are the same jerks who then drive back to Schaumburg in their ridiculous SUVs and get annoyed by bikers trying to share the road. Grr.

Leroy / July 21, 2005 12:33 PM

>I agree that laws are laws, but I also think that if you're careful as a cyclist, *strict* interpretation of laws isn't necessary

I think if you are a safe driver (like me), the same applies.

brian / July 21, 2005 12:46 PM

Why are we even having this debate? Can this possibly be anything more than a diversionary tactic by the city?

Bicyclists, while they have increased in years, are still a fraction of the number of total users on the streets. Cars make up the majority by far, and are much much more deadly. That's physics - as Naz mentioned, 2 tons of steel is a lot more dangerous than 20 lbs.

Of course bicyclists should follow the rules, just as pedestrians shouldn't jaywalk and cars shouldn't roll through stop signs.

If you want to make Lakeview safer, ticket the cars that speed, run red lights, swerve into opposite lanes to pass someone, etc. etc. There's PLENTY more that could be done that would benefit the public more than cracking down on bicylists since we're still just a drop in the bucket of the total traffic.

Idiocy.

brian / July 21, 2005 12:50 PM

I agree that laws are laws, but I also think that if you're careful as a cyclist, *strict* interpretation of laws isn't necessary

I think if you are a safe driver (like me), the same applies.

--

Doesn't everyone assume that they're a better driver than "all those other idiots on the road"? I bet if asked, 80% of people would say they're better drivers than everyone else. Bikers probably aren't different, but then again, bikers don't pilot two tons of steel at 55 miles per hour.

Moon / July 21, 2005 1:44 PM

Other than riding on the sidewalk, which is the ultimate in asshat-iness, what else are they ticketing for?

I agree with whoever said that you'd have to be a real idiot to get a bike riding ticket.

/Stay off the sidewalks, morons!

lenny / July 21, 2005 1:46 PM

I agree with carl. Horses!

Holly / July 21, 2005 1:47 PM

You can't ride your bike on the sidewalk in lakeview, ok that seems fair enough, a car can't drive on the sidewalk, but what about a small child's bike with training wheels? My boyfriend works at a bike shop in Lakeview and saw a father and his 5 year old daughter get ticketed as he walked and she rode about about 20 yards from the shop. Is she supposed to ride with her training wheels in the Lakeview streets? The Chicago Police must have caught all the criminals already if they consider this "cracking down". Way to prove a point. Anyone seen other ridiculous abuses of power by the Chicago Police?

questomodo / July 21, 2005 2:33 PM

Is it just me or did drivers seem more aggressive yesterday after that article came out?

Flynn / July 21, 2005 2:46 PM

07.21.05, 11:14 AM chod said:
Roads were built for cars not bikes

07.21.05, 11:30 AM JFN said:
Stay off the damn sidewalks! Period.

Well, that about sums it up, don't it? I think a lot of this driver hatred towards bikes stems from the fact that bikes make drivers confront the fact that there are OTHER PEOPLE involved. Road rage is easy...you get mad at another box. When a bike is present, now all of the sudden, the drivers realize that they have to be CAREFUL. If they mess up, someone could die. Exposing that fact of driving that we too often ignore isn't a comfortable thing.

Plus, most drivers have NO idea where the ends of their car really are. With a bike, all of the sudden, they can't just move over 10 feet when they mean to move 2 feet. They have to watch BOTH sides of their car. For most drivers,the passenger side front bumper extends off to infinity. Bikes, by riding on the right, expose that problem.

07.21.05, 12:33 PM Leroy said:

>I agree that laws are laws, but I also think that if you're careful as a cyclist, *strict* interpretation of laws isn't necessary

I think if you are a safe driver (like me), the same applies.

Not quite, Leroy. The basic cases I mentioned were a) stop signs, and b) one way streets. Now, if I'm travelling 10 mph (or less) up to a stop sign, I have a LOT more time to see who's coming. Most cars that slow for stop signs don't go that slowly.

And as far as one way streets...well, if another car comes the other direction, where are you going to go? On a bike, I can pull over between parked cars, head up a driveway easily...pretty much anything. As a car, you don't have that luxury.

Naz: Andrew is right...that other Ravenswood side is barely contiguous, and it's COBBLESTONE at points.

On the Critical Mass mailing list, someone suggested Wolcott between Winnemac and Berteau. It's a decent option, although it has a bit more auto traffic (which is why such a small side street has so many lights). However, north of Foster up to Pratt-ish, there aren't many OTHER options than Ravenswood.

David / July 21, 2005 2:59 PM

FYI...An email I sent to Eve Jennings (director of Mayor Daley's Bicycle Ambassadors) and Tom Tunney (Alderman of 44th Ward).

Ms Jennings & Mr. Tunney...

Having the police department enforce bike safety rules in the Lakeview neighborhood is a waste of valuable police resources and is creating a contentious environment for cyclists. The police need to be policing the areas plagued by drug dealers, prostitutes, and gang members and protecting the underserved neighborhoods of Chicago, not giving people instruction on how to ride their bikes on the city streets of a relatively affluent neighorhood. From what I hear, it appears that the police are making stops for extrememly trivial "violations". If people want to ride recklessly in the streets and hurt themselves, they deserve the consequences. They should have learned bike safety at the age of 10.

The article in the Tribune in which you were quoted says that 7 people died last year in bike accidents (5 of those were on the Lakefront Path). It might interest you that more people died in the last week in drug-related shootings in Chicago. If they (and you) are going to target cyclists, maybe focusing on safety and awareness on the Lakefront Path to all who use it (pedestrians, runners, ROLLERBLADERS, and cyclists) which would be a better service to the community and would not make it look like the city is trying to create another revenue stream.

One possible result of this recent action as well as future citations is that it will deter people from riding their bicycles (which none of us want). Focus your efforts on those who ride on sidewalks which is why this action was taken. (which is illegal anyway and should be met with an immediate citation).

Please feel free to pass this concern on to those that may be interested and I look forward to your response.

Naz / July 21, 2005 3:02 PM

Flynn - all good. I live east of where Ravenswood doubles up and I've only been on Ravenswood all the way up North just a few times. I think Ravenswood is also a little ambiguous in that sense - you don't always quite know which section/block is one way or not or at least it's not made overly obvious. Caveat emptor I say and be safe. I know I've gone down Ravenswood before the wrong way myself, so who am I to talk!

Flynn / July 21, 2005 3:10 PM

Oh, and not to mention...we have bike cops ticketing bikers, but only *one* bike lane officer.

Heck...if they city wants money, have them patrol Damen Ave. between Webster and North from 9am to noon. You'd think it was a designated loading zone.

Jeigh / July 21, 2005 3:16 PM

Chicago has a police force? Hmmm. I guess I'd be in favor of the crackdown if the police would also begin establishing random checkpoints on holidays to screen for drunk drivers... Or if they cracked down on the people selling drugs by my home... Or if they also occasionally enforced the traffic laws for cars even... Crap, if I had a dime for every time a motorist nearly struck me with their car, not because of unwitting carelessness, but because they are just plain psychopathic... I'd have so many dimes I could build my own roads. No way, the crackdown is BS. I'll have to conscientiously object. Sorry.

rideon / July 21, 2005 3:59 PM

I'm a bicycling american and I have rights! I am not standing for anyone who will take my rights away, I am going to take that ten speed of mine and ride it right up Mayor Daley's ass!

brian / July 21, 2005 4:13 PM

About the 5 year-old being ticketed: the law (as I recall) says that children under 12 are supposed to ride on the sidewalk. I believe that they can be legally accompanied by a guardian.

If you have questions about the law, check out the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's website. They have a lot of info in the "Resources" section, including how to deal with traffic and how to bike with kids.

victim / July 21, 2005 4:38 PM

The Chicago Police function as:

1. Most important, revenue generators who slowly bleed money from law-abiding taxpayers via scams like Street Cleaning and snow routes. Whenever you actually see a cop driving down your street, it's probably because it's the first of the month and he's ticketing expired plate stickers ... or it's street cleaning day ... or it's June 16th (city sticker day, Jim Laski's favorite day of the year).

2. They are responding to a crime in which you, the law-abiding taxpayer, have been victimized by a law-breaking non-taxpayer. They were ticketing cars and chatting up the chick at White Hen during the actual commission of the crime. That's why it took them 15 minutes to get to the scene after the 911 call.

3. Crime prevention. Go to your monthly CAPS meeting and they'll tell you about all the crime they know about that still goes on even though they know about it. Complain and they'll tell you, "you shoulda lived here in the 80s. This is nothing."

Veronica / July 21, 2005 4:58 PM

I just got a bike over last weekend to start riding to work. I live in Lakeview and work in Wicker Park. So far its been really fun. The one thing I have noticed on several occasions is people do NOT look into the bike lane before they open their car doors. This yuppie mom almost flipped me over my handlebars on monday doing this. i was literally inches from her car? What do they expect cyclicts to do. read their minds?

Stephen / July 21, 2005 5:21 PM

Victim - hate to break it to you but the police don't do street cleaning or snow routes. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt: imagine those "scams" were put to an end and they stoppped towing vehicles parked there. Now you have unplowed streets in the winter, and debris and trash all over your street in the summer. Not too conducive to bike OR car operation! And anyway you'd probably be the first to complain that clean streets in all seasons are a service that every Chicago taxpayer deserve. And you'd be the first to complain that the city wasn't towing vehicles that were getting in the way of you receiving this city service.

But I digress.

The fact is, yes, we have law-breakers in the city - crime on all levels. Some of it is as simple as people who don't know how to share public thoroughfares with pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. Some of it is much more serious. But when you see the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists threatened - occasionally with fatal results - damn straight I want police out there helping to make things a little safer.

Naz / July 21, 2005 5:26 PM

Veronica - welcome to the door zone.

Ironically, the bike lanes ARE the door zone: which is the 2-3 feet area next to parked cars. I ride the outer white line and take a lane if I need to, just to avoid it. I've been doored before and it's no fun.

jgs / July 21, 2005 5:37 PM

i think there's a common psychology of cyclists in chicago which is not that we are above the law... what with our gifts of speed, agility and traffic-defying narrowness... but that we are below the law. In so many ways our life in traffic depends on our own wits, reflexes and will to get through, not a trust in other drivers or psychlists to obey the laws of traffic. As we get no respect from those careening about us in minivans, cabs and SUVs, and no one enforces traffic laws in our favor, we find ways around them and the laws, mainly just to get us home safe.
It's boggling that after so much denigration, honking, shit thrown at us, cursing for no other reason that we're on a "lesser" form of transportation... we are suddenly at the top of CPDs radar!? Shouldn't an elevation in stature precede a crackdown on the morays of urban bicycling?

scatteredshadows / July 21, 2005 7:23 PM

As a biker who often plays it fast and loose with traffic rules, I feel that it's still probably a good thing for police to enforce more infractions commited by bikers. Folks riding the against the flow of traffic especially aggravate me. On the whole, knowing the cops are out there is a good check against bikers taking too many chances.

In exchange though, the biking lanes better be treated as absolutely SACRED! Double parking in the bike lane? 5 years hard time! Open your door without looking? Off with your head! I've ridden through Halsted many times and to me erratic drivers are more abundant there than reckless bikers.

Finally, I do think it's ridiculous to fine bikers the same as auto drivers. Except for perhaps riding on the sidewalk, bikes do not carry the same potential to be lethal that cars do. Every day I see cars, trucks and especially light SUVs running lights, cutting through intersections and gunning around corners. I'd go so far as to say drivers in this city are completely out of control in that they seem to have not a single shred of concern for pedestrians, bikers or other drivers. More importantly, they don't seem to be concerned with the prospect of being fined for their behavior. If bikers are intended to have respect for the traffic laws, it should be even more of a priority to clamp down on drivers.

scatteredshadows / July 21, 2005 7:24 PM

As a biker who often plays it fast and loose with traffic rules, I feel that it's still probably a good thing for police to enforce more infractions commited by bikers. Folks riding the against the flow of traffic especially aggravate me. On the whole, knowing the cops are out there is a good check against bikers taking too many chances.

In exchange though, the biking lanes better be treated as absolutely SACRED! Double parking in the bike lane? 5 years hard time! Open your door without looking? Off with your head! I've ridden through Halsted many times and to me erratic drivers are more abundant there than reckless bikers.

Finally, I do think it's ridiculous to fine bikers the same as auto drivers. Except for perhaps riding on the sidewalk, bikes do not carry the same potential to be lethal that cars do. Every day I see cars, trucks and especially light SUVs running lights, cutting through intersections and gunning around corners. I'd go so far as to say drivers in this city are completely out of control in that they seem to have not a single shred of concern for pedestrians, bikers or other drivers. More importantly, they don't seem to be concerned with the prospect of being fined for their behavior. If bikers are intended to have respect for the traffic laws, it should be even more of a priority to clamp down on drivers.

mike-ts / July 21, 2005 9:44 PM

They were sitting around the squad room one day with the dartboard, and the dart landed on the pie wedge labeled "bike traffic offenses." So be good this month, the fuss will blow over, and next month will be the double parking crackdown, or the valet parking in the neighborhood sting, or the illegal daytime right turn at xyz intersection stakeout. And you can resume your regular riding style. The illusion of actually "doing" something. God forbid they have a "get the delivery trucks out of the bike lanes" sweep.

chris / July 22, 2005 1:17 AM

It's a lame-assed scam. Very lame.

Alex -S- / July 22, 2005 8:03 AM

As both cyclist and motorist - i have to say -ABOUT TIME!!

What - becaue you only have two wheels you can shoot through and intersection and all cars should stop? - thats the BS!
Only yesterday i observed on of our fine city bike messengers zipping through an intersection, causing a car (Which HAD the green light BTW) to brake and the car behind it to almost rear end it.

I think as cyclists - we're lucky that we have pretty good bike lanes in the city -and YES the cops need to enfore that too!

Bottom line - cyclist -don't be jackasses on the open road. motorists -don't be drivin in the bike lanes!!

people people - can't we all just get along?

charlie d / July 22, 2005 8:49 AM

Veronica say: This yuppie mom almost flipped me over my handlebars on monday doing this. i was literally inches from her car?

Never ride that close......inches from her car? Not her fault entirely.

Claim your path and stick to it. Otherwise you get the "DOOR PRIZE"

Be aware and be safe.

jen / July 22, 2005 9:54 AM

all i have to say is that i'll play nice at the stop lights and i'll do my best to stick to the shoulder of the road if no bike line is available -- IF motorists actually use their turn signals & check their blind spots or pedestrians actually use the crosswalk when directed by the illuminated little man. you violate your own rules of the road, all bets are off and you will get an earful by yours truly as i weave around you.

victim / July 22, 2005 9:56 AM

Stephen -

You new here? I'm not saying eliminate street cleaning - - just come up with a system that isn't so obviously designed to generate $200-$300 in revenue per block. And the cops write the tickets ... you'll see them rolling down the street around 9:15ish.

Stephen / July 22, 2005 11:37 AM

Not new here; it's fine with me if the cops tow/ticket cars blocking the street sweepers from doing their job. How else should we ensure streets are adequately plowed and swept? The amount of flat tires my neighbors and I have received as a result of unswept streets is amazing (lots of rehabbing going on here, plenty of tempting nails to run over), and it's not safe for children playing or bicyclists riding either. I respect that you think ticketing bicyclists and drivers is a "scam," but I'll respectfully disagree with that assessment.

The revenue the city generates from those tickets via bike safety sweeps, street sweeping, etc... in theory (and it's a bad theory, I know) that money goes to improve the services the City provides to us. But then we have things like the hired truck scandal, etc., and that theory goes to pot.

My point is, try to look beyond the money thing and focus on the fact that in addition to lining the City's corrupt pockets, these "bike sweeps" can contribute to the safety of bikers, drivers, and pedestrians alike.

Helen / July 28, 2005 1:07 AM

Dear People

I have been given the task of getting links for our websites that have good page rank on the links directories.
In addition we have many categories so your site will be place on an appropriate page.

If you would like to trade links please send me your website details.
If you are not the right person please pass this on to your webmaster.

Best Regards,
Helen Williams

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