The Chainlink

Cyclist Seriously Injured in Blody Collision on the 606 during Tuesday Evening Commute

From Chicagoist:

"A 60-year-old man was seriously injured when he collided with another cyclist on The 606 trail on Tuesday evening.

Two men were both riding bikes on the trail in 2700 block of West Bloomingdale Avenue, near the California trailhead, when they collided at around 5:55 p.m., according to police.

A person who said he witnessed the aftermath posted on Reddit that "there was blood all over the pavement" at the scene. One injured man was "out cold and bleeding" and a second person "was bloodied nearby" and "shaken but standing," according to the post.

Photographer Clayton Hauck on Tuesday evening posted images of what appeared to blood on the trail and bloody garments or towels left behind.

Tribune transportation reporter Mary Wisniewski also saw the aftermath "of a bloody crash" on The 606 Tuesday and said on Twitter that both men were "well enough to sit up in ambulance."

One collision victim, a 23-year-old man, sustained minor injuries and was taken to St. Mary's Hospital. The 60-year-old man suffered serious injuries and was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, according to police."

It was less than ten days ago that I had mentioned on Chainlink that it was only a matter of time before someone riding too fast ran into someone. I hope both are okay and not terribly injured.

What can be done to slow people down on the 606?

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A cop got hit too. Only time will tell when they start arresting cyclist. Arrest you own speed or it will be done for you

Thanks to the 'designers' of the 606 for taking a narrow path and making it even more narrow by adding landscaping and running paths, and making a straight path winding and uneven so cops and others can't look down it for signs of trouble. That's the kind of 'improvement' we didn't need.

Speed alone isn't the problem on the path. It's speed plus bad passing, because the path is so narrow. Most people buy the lie peddled by the path operators that they 'can't' ride on the blue surface, even though there's no law or rule against it (In fact, I think because federal funds were used to make the 606, ALL of the path, including the blue portion, the metal grates and the dirt trails (which are hard-packed) have to be accessible to all users). Consequently, all of the passing bikes attempt to pass on the left - at the same time bikes traveling in the opposite direction try to pass on THEIR left. Add to that the dipshits riding side by side - which would be okay if they stayed on their side, but they hardly ever do - and it's one big bleeping mess. I have no problem using the blue part when one of these morons gets too close. But unfortunately most people accept this 'social engineering' bullshit and never even consider using the blue to navigate away from danger.

Agreed. When I ride, I always hang as far to the right as possible, if that means hugging the blue path so someone can pass on my left. If I have to hug the center line to pass, I only do it long enough to pass. And I'll only pass in the oncoming lane when there isn't actually anyone anywhere near it, but with people riding two abreast, or walking 2 and 3 abreast with dogs and kids is where shit gets unpredictable. I slow down in congested areas and speed up when things open up, but tonight I passed a big bike gang that was riding fairly slowly and eating up a lot of the lane, so getting down the 606 at the speed I wanted was seriously hampered. Fortunately there weren't tons of people in the other lane, so I was able to pass safely, but honestly, when people meander from side to side in an unpredictable fashion, it freaks me out. I ALWAYS look over my left shoulder when I start to hug the median, just in case someone quieter and faster than me is attempting to pass. I wish others would maintain that same situational awareness. Everyone should be able to walk, jog, run or sprint at the pace they want for the majority of the path. And yeah, 10 minutes of sprinting down the path is about all I have in me some days, but it sure feels a lot safer than trying to do that in traffic where there are car doors on one side and moving cars on the other side.

I do challenge the notion that the 606 is "not for riding fast." It's one of the ONLY safe stretches to ride at speed in the area, aside from super late at night on the boulevards. And then of course you're risking getting attacked with a machete or something.

Having read the discussion since the OP I   wonder  how  our  two cyclists are  doing. Does anybody know?  I  was unable to find anything with a cursory search.  I think the discussion  is good as we are exploring what the  606 is and  how it should be  used. I get a little  put off as we can infer a criticism or condemnation of the behavior  of the two injured cyclists in this discussion. Given that I really do not know what happened with them I will  refrain but will join the conversation  solely as the crash  brings to the  top the question of safety on  the 606.

This is  neither  bike trail nor  a  walking trail nor a  dog park nor  a perambulator highway nor a  greenway nor a warning sign  of gentrification.  It  is all of these things and more.  As  such,  no user can claim the 606 as his  or her own and  has to use it knowing that  it  is shared  with (to  borrow from  Cecil Adams) the teeming millions. I  agree with the  comments that  we have  to  use reason and  have  to  be  acutely aware.  No question some users are  a little oblivious. All this means to me is that I  have  to be that  much  more  aware to  make sure we get  by each other safely.  

My guide words for the 606 are  empathy and awareness. Having  those  two in  mind I  will  find the appropriate speed,  the appropriate  distance and the appropriate  manner  of  biking when I use this elevated  oasis along  with the cross  section  of Chicago that  has joined me that day. To the  extent I am  in my own head, on  my own  mission, unconcerned with others, I run the  risk  of becoming (to  borrow from the Hughes brothers)  a menace to society.

As usual, well said Dave. I hope that both of the injured parties are able to make a good recovery.

I'm more concerned about the older guy, as it sounds like he was hurt a lot worse, and it's tougher to recover from a serious injury at 60 than at 23. Healing thoughts to him, whoever he is.

IMO, I think they'll start to do regular or more frequent policing on the trail. With the increase of robberies and accidents, it would be the smart thing to do. There are really a few ways I see the trail progressing. If robberies and accidents increase along with dangerous/nonsensical cycling, and nobody stepping in, the trail could become more dangerous. If police presence, proper speed signage and ticketing are worked in, it could lead to either a safer place or activities being banned due to safety.

I only ride on it about once a week, but there's usually one point when I'm there that someone speeds by or walks in front of me. As long as you don't go too fast and have good brakes, its easier to avoid accidents. 

Still haven't heard about the condition of the two involved in the accident.

The bike community was instrumental in pushing this project from the very beginning, the 606 pocket park add-on components came years after the initial efforts for a rails-to-trails conversion. The High Line was an inspiration, but I wouldn't say a model. From the wiki:

Conversion to a greenway or linear park

The City of Chicago first investigated converting the Bloomingdale Line into a greenway in a 1997 bicycle facilities plan, but it remained a freight line with occasional service for several more years. The City and community reintroduced the greenway concept as part of the Logan Square Open Space Plan in 2002-2004.[1] This plan proposed a linear park or greenway with public access ramps every few blocks apart. At the east end, a trailhead would be created at the Chicago River.

More to the point, state and federal funding came from budgets dedicated to Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement. This means bicycle commuters as intended users, and if you've ever dealt with state or federal grant auditors, good luck reversing agreed-upon grant conditions. I also don't think you'll find much evidence suggesting more than handful of people walk the 606 to to work instead of driving.

That all said, it's certainly appropriate for all of us to remember that 1997 discussions notwithstanding, it's pretty clear that when the conversion returned in the Logan Square Open Space Plan the trail was never intended to be solely a bike trail, either. A shared trail like the LFT with pedestrian usage was always part of the plan. Here's one of the older pieces out there on it, it's a pretty fascinating read for all kinds of reasons:

I'm okay with the park banning human powered vehicles during busy pedestrian times. Just like the CTA bans bicycles during certain hours, it's time to curb all these reckless riders.

The CTA doesn't ban bicycles during rush hour because they are being ridden recklessly.

"Pushing cyclists out onto the streets, where we belong, will have the salubrious effect of giving people courage to ride there at other times, a lá Critical Mass!  As John Forester wrote in 'Effective Cycling' separate bike paths only segregate and limit cyclists, and are a first step to removing our rights."

i agree with this. i've had more than one driver tell me that i ought to be riding on a path somewhere and not on "their" street. If they'd listen, i'd tell them, 1)The path won't get me where i'm headed, and 2)there's an expressway a couple of miles from here, so why aren't you driving there?

Yes the LFP should be included. But it seems like separate infrastructure is being put in for the exclusive use of cyclists so it would seem moot at this point. 

I claim my right to use infrastructure my tax dollars helped paid for and so should you. If you honestly think using the 606 means they are going to take our rights as intended users of the streets (and the bike lanes, and Divvy stations) away, well, we're going to have to agree to disagree.



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