The Chainlink

I have a few I can name that I do my best to avoid ever riding on and last weekend, when I was outside of my normal riding area, I realized my knowledge is pretty limited so I thought I'd post this in hopes to start an ongoing thread of streets that are pretty miserable for riding a bike. 

To get it started...

  • Ashland Ave. - No bike lanes, speeding cars
  • Michigan Ave. - No bike lanes, speeding cars, tourists, gaggles of buses
  • Western Ave.  - Ashland but with cowboy hats ;-)

The other thread... What Are Your Favorite Chicago-Area Bike Lanes, Paths & Routes?

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Great suggestion. I've found Woodlawn (the neighborhood) has a lot of bikeable streets.

I agree. And you can find some lovely old homes and community gardens there.

I avoid all 4 lane streets.  Traffic moving faster than most 2 lane streets and lanes usually narrow.

Also 6 way intersections, long viaducts and bridges over the river

The worst intersection I know of to avoid but can't is the Logan Blvd/Western Ave/Kennedy Expressway

I consider the sidewalk an option at any of the above when traffic is heavy

I agree with mostly everything, but why do you think that 6-way intersections are dangerous? 

More potential for getting left-hooked, I'd imagine?

Traffic patterns tend to be more chaotic. Crossing distances are generally longer, making it more challenging to get all the way across the intersection before one of the intersecting streets gets a green light. Left turns are usually more difficult, so drivers are more likely to make desperation moves during the yellow light, or even after it's turned red.

I am aware of some crashes at 6-way intersections where the cyclist entered the intersection when the light was green and didn't get all the way across before the light went red. Then a driver on the intersecting street who got the green failed to yield and allow the cyclist to clear the intersection before proceeding.

+1 Logan and Western. Someone has recently removed the memorial for Tyler Fabek that was there. If anything it's gotten worse since then somehow.

Same here, I always use the sidewalk(illegally, but if it's safer why not?) if I have to bike along a 4 lane street. It's always what I do, if I'm biking up to the Peterson Ave. Target. Interestingly I rarely ever see anyone walk that street, so it's just as well I do that. And since the lanes are too narrow for a bike and a car to share that rightmost lane, I only feel it's right(even if illegal) to instead bike on the sidewalk. I of course go slower on that, if I see pedestrians(the rare times  I do) using that sidewalk.

Not within the city(barely outside of it), but Ridge Ave. in Evanston is the same way. I opt to use Asbury(unlike Western in Chicago, it's only 2 lanes in Evanston), or a combination of Custer/Sherman/Elmwood. Hinman is a good alternate to Chicago Ave(Clark St. in Chicago), 1 block east once you get north of South Blvd. I wish the street lighting on Chicago(between Howard and South Blvd.) was a little better, particularly near the west gate to Calvary Cemetery. As a result, I have(when coming back from Evanston  at night) instead at times biked south on Custer(to past where it becomes Damen in Chicago), turned left onto Birchwood, go south on Clark, turned left onto Jarvis, turn right on Greenview, turn left at Farwell, then go south on Glenwood till I get home.

Seems to me Ridge in Evanston between Howard and about Emerson (or somewhere around there) is signed for no bikes, anyway.  It's too narrow for even two lanes of motor traffic!  Custer is definitely the best N-S alternative, although it only goes up to Main.  I have a zig-zag path through those streets to get north.  There are actually a lot of options, once you get past the Yellow Line tracks and St. Francis.

Sidewalk is never safer.

My pet peeve is the "Clashland" stretch between Andersonville and Devon Avenue, where Clark and Ashland are combined. It's listed as a recommended route on the Chicago Bike Map (see attached map segment), but it's a wide, four-lane, high-speed road, fairly unsafe and totally unpleasant to ride on. Fortunately, the city is wrapping up the Glenwood Greenway, which will allow two-way biking all sections of low-traffic Glenwood Avenue (located two blocks east of Ashland) in Edgewater, providing a great alternative. 


I just noticed today that they painted a bike lane there! Really happy to see that. As you can probably tell by my handle, a big pet peeve of mine is cyclists not following traffic rules -- not just for safety, but also because, let's face it...PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE US CYCLISTS. And I don't want them to have any ammo against us. And ever since they changed the "DO NOT ENTER" sign on Glenwood to "DO NOT ENTER except bicycles", I still felt weird going the "wrong" way down Glenwood....and of course the painted bike lane came in just in time for me to discover my tire has a leak...ughh...


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