The Chainlink

FYI, I saw this article from Chicago Athlete that discusses the issues with the trail separation and how we can continue to be heard. It is focused more on runners and CARA, but worth a read. I think there are areas where the path is better but many more areas where it is more dangerous than before. And the lack of water stations for runners to access without getting run over by two lanes of bike traffic might be the worst offender... either that or the terrible decision to redirect bikes along the lake from Foster to Montrose where pedestrian traffic is at its worst.

As both a biker AND a runner, I see both sides and understand the frustrations that come with both areas of the path now.To express your concerns, email

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As a cyclist and a runner myself, I only have to say that even the best designed and clearly marked trail will not solve the problem until people start paying attention to what's around them, and be considerate and courteous to each other.

Just seen this morning:

- On a narrow stretch between Addison and Irving Park, a mother with double stroller and two little kids was trying to cross the path. She didn't just blindly pushed through, no—luckily to one of the kids. Some schmuck in spandex zipped right in front of him, without even slowing down. Technically, he was on the bike part of the trail. But come fucking on! Can't you drop the speed on a narrow and crowded segment of the trail?!! Are you training for Tour de France or something? If so, the LFT, perhaps, is not the best place to do it.

- On my ride to work today I saw, probably, the largest amount of runners in the bicycle lane so far. Even where the pedestrian and the bike paths are not only marked on the pavement, but physically separated by grass. OK, I understand, to err is human and all that, but after a half mile or so of cyclists passing you by, don't you get the message?! Can't you at least try to run as close to the curb and not block the trail?

I'm a pessimist here.

People are fucking idiots.

Nothing will change.

I agree. I don't expect anything to change. People will keep doing what they do and now they have more places to crash while they do it. One day on my way home from work at 5 pm, a group of probably at least 10 spandex clad bikers were riding in a pace line and just zipping past me like they were on their way to the world cup of urban cycling. It was 5 pm. There is such a thing as rush hour on the path and I feel like it was their quest to ride it as fast as possible dodging tourists, children, and runners like they were part of some urban obstacle course. It's not a game, but people seem to think it is. I used to enjoy riding to work but will likely stop soon as the frustration has begun to outweigh the enjoyment. :(

There is a lack of compliance with standards, and a lack of enforcement of standards.  Which is to say things are a bit of an anarchistic free-for-all in some instances, and also coupled with a fair amount of hypocrisy from time to time. 

Suppose a mom wants to keep the stroller from the edge of the path so the wheel doesn't get stuck and flip their kid out?  Instead, mom decides to "take the lane" you know, to be safe.  That's a great way to frustrate someone behind them on a bike, just as when a cyclist does it in front of a motorist.

Do we wish pedestrians would comply with signs about trail use?  Of course, and when they are driving and walking, they wish we'd follow stop signs and one-way signs too.  

When a pedestrian is too slow and obstructing cycle traffic and are on the wrong path, of course that's annoying, and quite frankly in the wrong etiquette as well.  Likewise when cyclists depart from a perfectly good bike lane, car drivers find that frustrating. 

When a cyclist is too fast or too slow, other cyclists find that frustrating just as do motorists and pedestrians.

What should we do as cyclists?  We can do what we should do no matter our mode of transit.  Be courteous, abide by the rules, be good role models for children or newer cyclists who may see us, and be polite fellow travelers with those around us.  Otherwise we're just perpetuating the chaos instead of helping things. 

It's really an opportunity, we all have the chance to be good ambassadors of cycling every time we ride.   



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