The Chainlink

Hey Chicago Bicycle friends!

Would you like to be a part of making Chicago a safer place to bike? I need your insights on what it's like biking in Chicago.  

Instead of simply being mad about the issue, I'm interested in doing something about it.  One way to work on this issue is through creating a way to identify where these issues are taking place, tracking these violations, identifying problem locations and hopefully create an automated/fast/easy way to file a report with the city.  
The first step to creating a solution (potentially an app) is to learn from other people in the community (this is where you come in) and gain insights into the issue and uncover areas of opportunity.  I reached out via the Chainlink to reach a large diverse sample of bikers (like you), so that everyone's voice is heard.
Here are some questions I have:

+ Do you bike? (i'm guessing you do if you're reading this on the Chainlink.)

+ How often do you ride?

What are challenges do you have riding?

What do you do when you see cars parked in bike lanes?

Do you report?

Are there challenges with reporting?

Have you noticed progress with reporting?

How could the process be made easier?

Happy cycling!



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Thank you Filka Bean!  Much appreciated.

+ Do you bike?

  • Yes!

+ How often do you ride?

  • Daily, including weekends.

What are challenges do you have riding?

  • Potholes, unaware drivers, speeding cyclists in congested areas, etc.

What do you do when you see cars parked in bike lanes?

  • Not as much as I used to. Occasionally take a photo.

Do you report?

  • No. I haven't found a simple and effective way of reporting.

Are there challenges with reporting?

  • Yes. It seems like there is a lack of care when reporting.

Have you noticed progress with reporting?

  • The only few times I was successful at reporting was when a cab driver had cut me and a few other cyclists off on Kinzie to swerve and park in the bike lane to pick up a passenger. I had my gopro on the front of the bike and had the whole thing on video. The city had a court case against him and he was let off with a $50 fine and a drivers safety course.

How could the process be made easier?

  • If there was an app or website that was easy to use, accepted both pictures and videos as evidence and actually pursued the drivers that were in violation of the law I think it would be a very effective tool that people would use. 

Thank you for your response Jaik S.,

Would you be interested in testing out a prototype to document obstructions in bike lanes?

If so, send me a message and we can get you set up.



I've collected data from the city of Chicago and plotted it on an interactive map (shown in screen shot below).   

I still need of additional prototype testers.  A sign up sheet to become a tester and the interactive map can be found: HERE

Could you provide an icon key/legend for the map?

I updated the page to include a key of the icons as well as a call out on how to interact with the layers.  

Let me know if this helps or not.

Bike Lane Uprising - Update

For the past month, our prototype for reporting cars parked in bike lanes has been live.  We have been lucky to have some incredible prototype testers who jumped on board early on (Gopher, Argonne69, Tony, Cheryl to name a few)

As of today, our prototype testers have submitted over 120 bike lane obstructions through the prototype.  Were learning a great deal from submitters and are developing as we go.  We are working to continuously improve the experience for cyclists. 

We are also learning ways to share that data with the biking community as an effort to make cycling safer. Below is a heat map of the submitted bike lane violations.

Visit for more information and to sign up to become a prototype tester.  

You can also follow us on twitter @bikelaneuprise

+ Do you bike? (i'm guessing you do if you're reading this on the Chainlink.)

Yes, I still do. But, I am down from 5 days per week commuting on my personal bike to 3 days, using Divvy and running (to avoid certain intersections, poor roads, etc.) I went 7 or so years commuting year round (and boy did I love it.) Now, I try to get in three days of bike/run commute and two days of driving. Yes, I wrote that...I am a driver now...and yes, I can chalk it up to my concern for my safety. I really do miss riding in all weather and staying fitter than most. 

What are challenges do you have riding?

Dangerous intersections and drivers with poor driving skills. For instance, at the corner of Damen and Diversey, southbound on Damen coming from the northside of the intersection, too many drivers use both lanes to head south and nearly mow down bikers. If CDOT would simply put up a concrete barrier at the entrance to every roadway where dual lanes reduce to a single and a bike lane, then we might be able to teach drivers that that right lane on the north side of the intersection (complete with signage and painted markings) really is a turn only lane. It might cause a few head-on collisions with the barricades, but they will learn quick. 

What do you do when you see cars parked in bike lanes? Shake my head in disbelief. I see others tempt fate/death by slapping car panels. That is a quick way to find yourself at the losing end of a road rage incident. Still, our super-bikers do it thinking they are in the right. (Darwinism on display.)

Do you report? No. I can see why they do it. No place to stop that is convenient for them. My sense is that they will figure it out over time. 

Are there challenges with reporting? No idea. 

Have you noticed progress with reporting? No idea.

How could the process be made easier? This is sounding like an article on getting results from reporting issues. Report away, but until we have barricaded bike lanes (think concrete barriers) you are not going to keep cars out of lanes. I see trucks drive in bike lanes (going around traffic) on Elston on my commute. 

BTW, in your photo above, it appears the bike lane is newly marked and the bollards are still upright. Go take a ride down Elston sometime and do the ratio of upright to missing bollards. I bet it doesn't eclipse 20%.

If you want to effect change, then propose the cost of the barriers and tax bikes to pay for the route barriers. Simple as that. 

Thank you for taking the time to share your insights SixtyTwoPercent.


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