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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It certainly does not help that complaints to Aldermen, CDOT, and/or Active Trans pretty much get ignored.

Streets where a stopped vehicle trying to make a left turn "invites" other traffic to squeeze a little bit right into the bike lane.  No problem, right?

Why, what could go wrong? It's even better when there's a valet or bus zone to make things interesting!

It actually does raise the issue of should buses stop on the near or far side of an intersection, in a few discussions on intersection dynamics with CTA staff I continue to remain astounded (well, not really) at the complete lack of awareness that how their bus fleet operates has a very direct and occasionally very negative impact on cyclists. 

Agree there should be more study and consideration of location of bus stop in relation to bike lanes/path of travel. NB Milwaukee at Grand comes to mind as an intersection where bikes frequently get squeezed between the traffic lane and the bus stop on the north side.

It doesn't even have to be a bike lane. It seems few drivers puling the go-around maneuver manage to look in their right hand mirror before squeezing by. I got hit a few weeks ago on north Franklin St (and Grand) when a driver pulled this stunt and wedged me between his car and a parked car.

Been there -- on eastbound Grand and the river when a-holes try to cut ahead of the traffic before the bridge. Hope you and your bike are ok. I thought I just had a bent skewer but as it turns out my fork had gotten bent too. Now I just pass on the left if I have any suspicion someone might pull that move. 

The Lake Street bike lane, especially right around Kedzie right now, is just paved with glass. It's as if someone walked up and down it smashing bottles in it as they walked. Keep your eyes peeled. And then along Garfield Park, especially on weekends, it's not only a parking lot but people set up grills and lawn chairs in it. Sigh. I wish they would just move "protected" bike lanes back over to the left side of the parked cars so that we wouldn't have to dart back and forth between them into traffic upon every obstacle.

There's pluses and minuses to the alternative, but I take Fulton west out of the loop until Central Park, and then cut down and take Lake the remainder of the way west out to Oak Park.  Sections of Fulton have some rough pavement and speed bumps, but much, much less glass, and you get to avoid the section of Lake where people seem to like picnicking in the bike lane.  Fulton doesn't have a bike lane, put I generally find the road wide enough that cars don't create an issue.   

Ok, so we all have the streets we avoid and we started a thread on our favorites so...

John Greenfield gathered all of The Chainlink favorite, more bike-friendly streets into this map:


The Mellow Chicago Bike Map - Collaboration of The Chainlink & Streetsblog

I have a new one since last Sunday:  Central from Bryn Mawr to Devon.  It's a signed bike route, and if it's that bad on a Sunday afternoon, I really wouldn't want to ride it any other time.  At Touhy, two cars passed me with about 14-1/2 inches to spare, and I was buzzed by any number of other cars.  Yikes!

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