The Chainlink

Aldermanic panel: Bike riders on Sheridan sidewalks pay $200 fine

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter September 9, 2013 3:16PM

Updated: September 9, 2013 3:17PM

Bicycle riders who turn the crowded sidewalks of Sheridan Road into an illegal continuation of the lakefront bike path would pay through the nose — with a $200 fine — under a crackdown advanced Monday to prevent sidewalk collisions, often involving seniors.

Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said he’s picking up where his predecessor left off to protect elderly residents of the high-rises and nursing homes that line Sheridan Road.

At Osterman’s behest, the City Council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety agreed Monday to quadruple the fines for sidewalk intrusions on Sheridan between Ardmore and Devon.

Cyclists 12 or older are prohibited from riding their bikes on Chicago sidewalks.

The north lakefront bicycle path ends at Ardmore, which is at 5800 north. The one-block stretch between Thorndale and Ardmore is a key chokepoint because it’s the place where the lakefront bike path ends and the Sheridan sidewalks begin.

“People get off the bike path and go north. A lot of them are…taking the appropriate bike routes on Kenmore and Winthrop. But there are still some that take that turn and ride on the sidewalks. That’s where you have seniors walking down the street. It’s a significant problem. Very dense buildings with an elderly population,” Osterman said.

“It’s a small sidewalk. We’ve had accidents where seniors have been very significantly injured. And not just seniors, but people just walking down the street. We’re going to increase the signage telling people where to ride their bikes. But having this measure in place will deter people as well.”

In 2001, then-Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th) and Ald. Joe Moore (49th) proposed turning Sheridan between Ardmore and Devon into a “bicycle forfeiture zone.”

They wanted to seize the wheels of offending bike riders and give the bikes back, only if the offending cyclist could prove to an administrative hearing officer that they weren’t riding on the Sheridan sidewalk.

Then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, an early-morning user of the lakefront bike path, acknowledged that “something had to be done” to ease tension between cyclists, joggers and pedestrians.

“You have a lot of people up there. You have Loyola. You have a lot of seniors. You have a lot nursing homes in that area and they use the sidewalks quite heavily along Sheridan Road. If you hit somebody, people are going to get injured,” Daley said then.

But the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation denounced the crackdown as “draconian” and the bike forfeiture ordinance went nowhere.

Two years later, Smith proposed a watered down replacement imposing $50 fines against cyclists who ride illegally on Sheridan sidewalks.

Smith traded her legislative “sledgehammer” for a felt hammer after a year-long crackdown that featured hundreds of tickets and more than 100 booted bikes. It reduced the number of bikes riding illegally on Sheridan sidewalks from 40-an-hour to one or two.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to create a ground-breaking network of protected bike lanes — and launch the nation’s largest bike-sharing program — has increased tension among cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved the mayor’s plan to throw the book at reckless motorists and cowboy cyclists in hopes that the higher fines would ease roadway conflicts between the two.

The Emanuel-championed ordinance raised fines for cyclists who disobey the city’s traffic laws — from $25 for all offenses to $50-to-$200 depending on the severity of the violation.

The mayor’s plan also doubled — to $1,000 — the fine imposed against motorists who open their doors without looking into the path of cyclists. The fines for leaving a car door open in traffic also doubled — to $300.

http://www.suntimes.com/22462161-761/aldermanic-panel-bike-riders-o...

Views: 2247

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

As a law-abiding cyclist, I feel the measure IS totally draconian. Here are the issues as I see them:

 

1. Having fines that are $200 on Sheridan, but $50 everywhere else seems like favoritism to the elderly, who pay high taxes and begrudge anything moving faster than a walker. Chicago needs to create and ENFORCE unified cycling rules. For example, there is no law preventing users from riding bikes on Michigan Avenue in the central business district, where foot traffic HAS to be 20X that of North Sheridan.

2. The fines should be the same for the same crime. If it's $50 for riding down Michigan Ave., it should be $50 on North Sheridan. Also why is there STRICT enforcement on Sheridan Rd. but ZERO enforcement of ANY other cycling laws ANYWHERE else in Chicago? I've seen cyclists blow lights in front of CPD, cars drive thru crosswalks with pedestrians present in view of CPD, etc.

3. North Kenmore/Winthrop is a VERY high-crime area, asking cyclists (who spend $$$ on their bikes) to ride that street at night is just asking someone to get robbed...or worse. Hell people (and off-duty POLICE) aren't even safe in affluent areas like Sauganash, Wicker pk. and Lakeview, let alone east Rogers Park.

4. North Sheridan Rd. is a "highway" and unfit for cycling, as is any 4-lane divided street (Western, Ashaland, Fullerton) if you're unaware that the path winds onto a side street, which isn't normal, you run the risk of riding on north Sheridan Rd.

5. Lastly, and fine where someone's legally owned property is confiscated, or even "rendered unusable" is criminal in nature, and tatamount to stealling under the guise of "Law Enforcement"

Maybe you were being facetious but why should bicycles be banned from streets like Michigan? The only roadways that bicycles should be and are banned from are the interstates, LSD, and sidewalks. IMO once you start banning bicycles from one road, whats to stop them from being banned on another? Real slippery slope. When I have to work downtown I take Michigan north on my way home and follow all traffic laws. It doesn't seem dangerous because cars are going so slow anyway and its real easy to take the lane when need be.

Yes, I think Charlie said at MBAC that the fine was $250 from 2001 to 2006, at which time it went down again to $50. So it seems that if Osterman gets his ordinance passed, they'll install new signs that threaten a lower fine, ironically. Clearly, what's needed is either protection for bicyclists on Sheridan itself (apparently not happening) or better signage guiding cyclists to the safer alternate route nearby (apparently will happen).
 
Duppie 13.5185km said:

Shows just how much of a priority this really is.


Anne Alt said:

Remember the discussion about this at yesterday's MBAC meeting?  They said it was originally $250 - when these signs were made and installed, then dropped down to $50, and the new ordinance bumps it back up to $200.  All that time, the signs haven't changed.

Michelle Stenzel said:

I thought it was already a $250 fine, plus disabling of bike and arrest? I took these pictures on Sheridan Rd some time in 2011.

Since when is that area high crime? I've been through that area numerous times and it did not seem at all dangerous.

Christopher said:

3. North Kenmore/Winthrop is a VERY high-crime area, asking cyclists (who spend $$$ on their bikes) to ride that street at night is just asking someone to get robbed...or worse. Hell people (and off-duty POLICE) aren't even safe in affluent areas like Sauganash, Wicker pk. and Lakeview, let alone east Rogers Park.

Oh, I got it!

There are four entrances to the underpass, two on each side of the LSD. Apparently, Gene only uses the north ramps, and I've taken pictures at the south ramps. Sorry, my mistake.

Will post pictures of the other two signs later today.

OK, Gene? I'm really, really sorry about this.

My bad.

Serge Lubomudrov said:

Perhaps in vain, but I'm still waiting for, if not an apology, at least something like, "Oh, shucks, how did I miss those signs?"

Right, Gene?

 

Serge Lubomudrov said:



Gene Tenner said:

There is no such sign there.

Serge Lubomudrov said:

The sign by the underpass on Addison and LSD threatens those who ride bicycles through that underpass with arrest. Has it ever stopped anyone?

The stats indicate it is a high crime area. But during the day I find it is safe to ride around.

Sidenote: the area we are discussing is located in Edgewater, not East Rogers Park

Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) said:

Since when is that area high crime? I've been through that area numerous times and it did not seem at all dangerous.

Christopher said:

3. North Kenmore/Winthrop is a VERY high-crime area, asking cyclists (who spend $$$ on their bikes) to ride that street at night is just asking someone to get robbed...or worse. Hell people (and off-duty POLICE) aren't even safe in affluent areas like Sauganash, Wicker pk. and Lakeview, let alone east Rogers Park.

Adam's right.  There may be some sketchy areas north of Devon inland from Sheridan, but this section of Winthrop and Kenmore is fine, even for someone's $$$ bike.

There's no way to put a lane on Sheridan without finding some way to divert traffic from it, like I somewhat facetiously suggested earlier.  Plus the edges of Sheridan are rubble anyway and you'd have to deal with bus stops every two blocks.

I haven't seen anything like that on either street for the last 10+ years of going down to the Lakefront Path.  Dean, what the hell are you talking about?

Tricolor said:

I haven't seen anything like that on either street for the last six years of commuting, day or night.  The only real hazard are a couple of schools in the morning.


Dean Bekken said:

Hmm... dodging used needles and condoms on Kenthrop corridor or bitchy doddering rich fucks on the Silver Coast. Nice options for such a heavily travelled area. Cooperation with Loyola and their genuflectation of the neighborhood is the only hope we have.... until the old biddies die off.

Statistically, Thornadale east of Broadway has great deal of drug arrests. It's the area most talked about at beat meetings in Rogers Park. I used to attend them regularly (between 2004-2007) and usually go to one or two a summer for work. That always comes up at meetings as far west as Western. On the other hand, I ride both streets regularly and have never had trouble or seen other riders harrased in that exact. I generally get yelled at around Morse or Pratt.

To follow up with Michelle and Anne's comment, the fine was $250 between 2001-2006, and after that the fine was $50. Some of the signs were modified, some were not (obviously.) Crash data was not collected for ped/bicycle crashes because it's not collected by police or IDOT. Ambulance data is not available because HIPAA prevents the release of any data without personal information being removed. I know that, anecdotally (particularly 20th district officers,) there were a lot of crashes on that stretch of Sheridan before the fines were increased, but getting more specific data about this kind of crash is something we're working on here at the bike program. It won't just help along this stretch of Sheridan, but in places like downtown and other denser population areas.

I used to ride Winthrop and Kenmore through that area regularly at various hours of the day and night. I rarely had problems beyond dealing with double parked cars and people walking to/from them.  While that area isn't perfect, it's much better than it was back in the 1980s.

Over the years, I've been hassled near Sullivan School by punks hanging out there at night a number of times, but not on Winthrop or Kenmore.

Now, this is extremely embarrassing . . . There are only three (3) signs for four (4) entrances to the Addison/LSD underpass! I am so, so very sorry, Gene. I understand you only use the northwest ramp to get to that underpass, and this is the one without that damn sign!

I also understand you never exited that stupid underpass through neither northeast (see below), southeast nor southwest ramps, so you could not have possibly noticed the other three signs.

Again, I am very and truly sorry. I apologize. You were right.

Because, obviously, this thing across the street doesn't have anything to do with cycling:

Serge Lubomudrov said:

Oh, I got it!

There are four entrances to the underpass, two on each side of the LSD. Apparently, Gene only uses the north ramps, and I've taken pictures at the south ramps. Sorry, my mistake.

Will post pictures of the other two signs later today.

OK, Gene? I'm really, really sorry about this.

My bad.

Serge Lubomudrov said:

Perhaps in vain, but I'm still waiting for, if not an apology, at least something like, "Oh, shucks, how did I miss those signs?"

Right, Gene?

 

Serge Lubomudrov said:



Gene Tenner said:

There is no such sign there.

Serge Lubomudrov said:

The sign by the underpass on Addison and LSD threatens those who ride bicycles through that underpass with arrest. Has it ever stopped anyone?

So you're cool with the double parked cars, huge speedbumps and blind corners, then.

RSS

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service