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I heard from bike store of two deaths on Damen near United Center, those scary five blocks where cars speed. I've been taking that stretch for a year. I take up my rightful place in right lane as sign indicates. Wonder if these two tragic victims did too, or if placement of bike was irrelevant. Also, don't know if store meant recently or over a period of years. Either way it freaked me out and I'm now taking the slower parallel Leavitt. Does anyone know the circumstances of these murders?

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From the background on the case, and this is a cut-and-paste:  Whitacre “fell from her bike, landed underneath a truck and was run over” and police said she was attempting to pass between the truck and a CTA bus at the time.  (end paste)

It has not been made clear how a change to a speed limit as discussed in the article and headline will influence truck driver, cyclist, nor bus operators to prevent a cyclist from making a decision to attempt to pass between a truck and a CTA bus.

To build on that point, ensuring cycling advocacy through education and information is all the more important as follows: 

Dashed bike lanes = more driver awareness of cyclists on the road, drivers tending to stay further to the left, giving cyclists more room to ride out of the door zone.

20 mph speed limit signs + visually narrowing the street = slower average driver speeds, so that if a motorist strikes a person on a bike, the crash is less likely to be fatal.

Those things weren't the proximate causes here.  This wasn't about door zones. From the article: "Whitacre “fell from her bike, landed underneath a truck and was run over” and police said she was attempting to pass between the truck and a CTA bus at the time."   This doesn't mean door zones or speed couldn't be of interest elsewhere, but a choice about going between a truck and a bus hasn't been addressed unfortunately. 

Setting aside root cause issues in pursuit of something else doesn't ultimately promote safety.  If we want lower speed limits for instance, that's a consideration where that's relevant, but again, that wasn't tied as a proximate factor here in these articles.  It could have been a factor, but the articles and analysis as set forth here hasn't demonstrated that.  

Helmets are important too, but this instance and the accounting of it doesn't demonstrate that either.  Helmet laws aren't bad, and perhaps different speed limits aren't either, but imagine if stricter helmet laws and helmet law enforcement was the response to what happened. 

The dashed bike lanes and lower speed limit are an effort to prevent more cyclists from being seriously injured or killed on this stretch. Whether they would prevent someone from dying in the exact same manner as Whitacre is not the point.

John, I agree with you. Making infrastructure more safe is the point. 

We can debate what happened but none of us witnessed it. If one tends to blame cyclists, they could think the cyclist squeezed through between two large vehicles. Another possibility, the bike was overtaking the bus and the truck driver decided not to wait for the cyclist to pass the bus and squeezed the cyclist between the two. Those vehicles would have to be slow-moving or stopped for the cyclist to squeeze through. 

Which leads me to this - we could all be in that position. I am careful and cautious but I've had big vehicle drivers grow impatient and drive to closely to me in order to pass me. I don't know that it is helpful to point a finger to the cyclist and try to figure out how they could have done something differently. Which brings me to the point I think John was making - we can make changes to make it MORE safe for cyclists. There's data to support the reduction of speed and defined bike lanes as meaningful changes.

It's ok for everyone to take a deep breath and recognize that cycling safety is something we too can control as cyclists for ourselves instead of pointing the finger at trucks, busses or speed limits.  

Examining the decisions of the participants isn't pointing the finger.  It's a fundamental part of analysis in a culture of safety, and in a culture of safety it's important to evaluate what all the participants could have done different.  Moreover we haven't established that vehicles were >20mph, but the article(s) point out the cyclist's attempt to pass. 

Per above, those vehicles would have to be slow moving or stopped. So the speed limit doesn't really tie to the context of the Whitacre article(s).

It's incorrect to say we could all be in that position. For instance I have never been in that position and won't be because I never attempt to pass between a truck and a bus (regardless of speed). 

Ensuring cycling advocacy through education about ridership choices and safety remains one of the most viable paths to improving rider safety.  To obscure that or juxtapose non-sequiturs is not cycling advocacy. 

And it's OK to drop the bone, Keto. It's so good of you to define what IS and IS NOT cycling advocacy for us. What's really driving this almost compulsive rhetorical drumbeat? A dedication to a higher culture of safety??  

Yes, a culture of safety, to reduce cycling injuries and fatalities. Folks discuss or reference safety in the context of speed limits, lighting, modality mixing, bike lanes, and other infrastructure as well. Happy Thanksgiving.  


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