Riding on the Edge by Eric Horng of WLS.
I'm all for responsible behavior on streets (and off), but . . .
Is this related to the upcoming change of the Mayor? I've heard and read not once that Daley was too much bike(r)-friendly.
"Growing in popularity are fixed-gear bikes, which have no brakes. The fact that they are illegal is part of the allure."
Is the emphasized statement correct? Just curious . . .
I fixed it for you...
October 31, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Motorists on the streets of Chicago face many dangers, but they may put themselves in that position and frequently frustrate others on the road.
By law, motorists have to obey the same traffic lights and signs guiding all other road users. In fact, the Secretary of State's office distributes a pamphlet spelling it all out. But many motorists in Chicago follow their own rules.
In downtown Chicago during the afternoon rush, the lights and signs at several high-traffic intersection that prevent chaos are ignored by motorist, after motorist, after motorist.
"They kind of do what they want," one person said.
"It almost seems like they view themselves as above the law," said another.
Over the course of two days, ABC7 witnessed dozens of motor vehicle traffic violations, from drivers blowing through stop signs to motorists ignoring red lights and snaking across traffic.
"They will cut in front of you. They will especially never stop at a stop sign," pedestrian Audrey Middleton said.
Motorists could also be seen driving in oncoming lanes, going the wrong way down one-way streets, as well as ignoring pedestrians in crosswalks and failing to stop for emergency vehicles. Some also took up entire lanes of traffic, all without signaling.
Pedestrian Carole Romano indicated she rarely saw motorists giving the appropriate turn signals.
"Oh, no, no," she said.
In some cases, it's not that car drivers won't stop. Sometimes, they can't. Growing in popularity are SUVs, which have no ability to see what’s directly in front of them. The fact that they are enormous gas-guzzlers is part of the allure.
"It's a complete ego thing," one driver said.
Some motorists speaking with ABC7 seemed less than concerned.
"I don't mean to break any laws or anything like that. That's just the way I drive," motorist Marcos Orta said.
"We gotta get from point A to point B, and sometimes, no, we don't obey the law because we're trying to get from point A to point B," driver Bertram Davis said.
Chicago has long touted itself as automobile-friendly, and Mayor Daley's administration has added miles of roads and expanded city parking programs. However, as the number of motorists have grown, the number of accidents remains astronomical: 425,000 in 2003 and 408,000 in 2008, according to the Illinois Dept. of Transportation.
A leading motorist advocacy group says motorists are not to blame.
"Education and enforcement should be focused on where it can have the greatest impact for everyone's safety, and that is obviously more focused on motorists," said Ethan All, American Automobile Association spokesman.
But not every motorist agrees.
"It's about motorists having equal rights but not special rights," Bob Hummer said.
Hummer is a former board member of the American Automobile Association. He says out-of-control behavior threatens the progress the motorist community has made.
"Motorists need to become more responsible for themselves. Otherwise, we risk losing the support that we need to expand our programs," Hummer said.
(Tip o' th' hat to Dan K.)