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The City of Chicago has implemented a new 311 code so that people riding bikes can easily report a “Vehicle Parked in a Bike Lane.” This information will be used by the City to identify hotspots and prioritize enforcement. However, the City does not have the resources to respond to each individual report. People can call 311 or use the 311 web system to file a report. We’re asking cyclists to report the day(s), time(s) and locations(s) that they observe vehicles parking in bike lanes. 

See the attached screenshot for the web-based reporting, or click this link:

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Thanks Charlie, we've been talking about this on another thread. Any word on when this will be implemented?

Call 311 if you want to report the day(s), time(s) and locations(s) that they observe vehicles parking in bike lanes - AFTER the blocking has gone.

But if there is a car or truck in the lane when you're calling, call 911 to report it.  This will also be reported and then assigned to a dispatcher who may be able to send a nearby police car to issue the ticket.

Yes, thank you Bob. 911 is the appropriate number to report an active issue with a car blocking a bike lane.

My personal practice has been to call 911 when I've seen a car blocking a protected bike lane--the most serious of problems IMO, because it fully obstructs a cyclist's ability to continue forward.

For cars in "normal" bike lanes, I haven't called 911, I guess because I don't want to spend all day on the phone (lol) and because I don't think the police are actually going to do anything about a situation like that.

So this new reporting system could be a good way to "log" issues so that CPD could potentially do some enforcement actions in particular trouble spots?

 Save the 911 calls for life-threatening emergencies. While a car in a protected lane is inconvenient and stupid, unless the driver is deliberately aiming to hurt someone, it's generally not an emergency.

Call 911 and leave the information.  Let the call-taker and the assignment desk decide what action to take.  It's a low-level response but it's still may get action if there are police nearby and available, and a record is still made.

911 is not only for emergencies.

Emergency medical service provider here. Please DO NOT call 911 for a car in the bike lane, but use 311 instead. I know it is infuriating and illegal when people place their cars in the bike lane, and also poses a threat to rider safety but our emergency dispatch services are just spread too thinly. While you are calling about this non-immediately-life-threatening situation, people who are having a cardiac event or a stroke or have been in a car accident or a gun shot wound are placed ON HOLD. In EMS, time is everything, and the time you take by calling 911 for a NON-EMERGENT situation may literally cost someone their life. Please be respectful of our emergency resources and use 311 or call the police directly. DO NOT CALL 911 UNLESS SOMEONE'S LIFE IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER. 

Bob is correct. In some jurisdictions 911 may be only for emergencies, but in Chicago anytime one wants to contact the police through 311 (the non-emergency number for contacting the City) one is connected to 911 by the 311 operators regardless of how trivial the call is. 

I'm sorry but that is not correct. I work in the industry as well as I have had to make both police and EMS calls before. 311 does not default redirect non-emergent situations to 911. Also, having had to call 911 before to get ALS for actual emergencies and finding myself placed on hold was very frustrating. It would be even more frustrating to know that it was because someone was selfishly abusing the resource for a non-emergent situation. Please reconsider your action here: it is selfish and dangerous. 

I've attended CAPS meetings in the 17th District and we had a presentation from someone from the dispatch office of 911.

We were told that if there is a violation and it is currently in progress we should call 911.  The dispatch would give this a low-priority if it was simply a car parked in the bike lane or any parking violation.  We were told not to make the decision ourselves between calling 911 or 311, but to let the trained dispatcher make the decision and decide on the priority.

If you're making a report about a violation later, after the violator has gone, then 311 is appropriate, since you're only making a report. Or simply use the web form to make the report:

I'm sorry, but you were given bad information. Shame on that dispatcher for misleading you. 311 is the appropriate channel to call. 911 is for emergencies only. A car in the bike lake is terrible, but it just isn't a life-threatening situation. It is selfish to tie up 911 for non emergent situations, and that selfishness could cost a life. Please consider the well-being of people in dire situations, instead of the hazardous inconvenience of a car in the bike lane. DO report it; DO NOT use 911.

I called 311 weeks ago, and the person said to call 911 if the car was causing a safety issue. Why would the 311 operators give out bad information?

That is correct Anne. This is a way to track these infractions so Dept of Finance can send their folks out to places were these infractions keep occurring.


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