The Chainlink

How do you feel about Bike Ambassadors / CPD safety outreach efforts?

For a Streetsblog Chicago post, on Thursday I interviewed staff from the city's Bike Ambassadors and the Chicago Police Department while they were doing an outreach event at Armitage/Milwaukee. The ambassadors were handing flyers to motorists and bicyclists reminding them not to use cell phones while driving and to obey traffic signals while biking. The police were flagging down adult cyclists who were riding on the sidewalk or who ran a red light and giving them (seemingly polite) warnings that what they did is illegal. For the Streetsblog post, what are your thoughts about these kind of outreach events? Do you think they're helpful in encouraging safe behavior by drivers and cyclists?

Thanks,

John Greenfield

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Surely the "both feet on the street" standard isn't real.

No, it's not. No longer moving into/through the intersection is a much more realistic standard.

Speaking of bike lanes.

The Dearborn lane has 2 way traffic in it with signals for Salmoners.

Approaching an intersection with left turn traffic on a green are drivers/pedestrians aware that bikes will be traveling North and South "legally". It's also on the left side not the right as most other lanes are.

Inconsistancy makes it harder for both drivers and cyclists if we're supposed to follow the rules.

and blow through lights/signs going up Halsted. Not compalining as I piggybacked to make better time. Thanks CPD.

Anne Alt said:

*sigh* When they're part of the problem, they're not doing us any good.

blair_ said:

Also, CPD constantly rides their bikes up and down the sidewalks on Michigan and Randolph.

So just push cyclists off the main streets just to make it easier and faster for cars?

David crZven 10.6 said:

As currently constituted, the Lawrence Avenue bike lanes only put bicyclists at greater risk.

Foster Avenue is becoming a speedway to the expressways and enforcing the speed limits, stopping at red lights, and ticketing passing on the right isn't happening. Two lanes of traffic in each direction are not necessary. Traffic should be reduced to one lane in each direction, with a center divider for pedestrian crossing. A stop light should be added at Avers Avenue. Children are crossing Foster between and among Eugene Field Park and Gompers Park.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/a-road-diet-for-foster.fb28?source...

Reading is a skill.  Its too bad you haven't mastered it.   I listed many reasons why Lawrence, as currently constituted, puts Cyclists at risk.  Instead of answering those comments, you mis-stated the specific post. Please explain why my concerns about Lawrence are misplaced.  And don't give me any crap about not knowing how to ride in a city.  I have been commuting on and off by bicycle in major cities since 1981.... well before the current alienation approach now being adopted by the bicycling community.  My guess is that you don't stop at lights and ride the wrong way on one way streets as well.   And it is that kind of arrogance which makes it hard for real progress on improving bicycling.

 As it happens, I thnk that infrastructure cycling makes more sense than vehicular cycling.  Give certain streets and roads (such as the Expressways, LSD and major arterials) to the cars and give bicycles and pedestrians our own infrastructure.  I commute through the Lawrence corridor almost every day on a bicycle.  In three years I have had 5 incidents involving cars -- 2 of which involved actual conduct.  4 of the 5 were on Lawrence even though I use it for only a few blocks.  

Lawrence, as properly constituted, is highly dangerous for bicycles and only arrogant cyclists with a deathwish ride on it full time. I would happily trade Lawrence and Irving and Western and Ashland for a single safe and effective East West Route and a single safe and effective North-South route.

Bob Kastigar said:

So just push cyclists off the main streets just to make it easier and faster for cars?

David crZven 10.6 said:

As currently constituted, the Lawrence Avenue bike lanes only put bicyclists at greater risk.

This is exactly the kind of "anti-car" attitude which makes it impossible for real progress.   Foster Avenue  has become a major route for cars.   Many of the cross routes are badly choked.  What are those drivers supposed to do?  People don't die on request.  Targeting popular roads that actually move at a good pace do nothing more than make enemies.   Why Foster?  Why not encourage the development of a good parallel to Foster that can be made more bicycle friendly.  Like Bryn Mawr.  All that choking down Foster would do would make Bryn Mawr more dangerous and less likely to become what it shoudl be... a major East West Bike route.  

Cars are entitled to roads.  Bicycles are entitled to roads.  Cars are not entitled to all of the roads, but neither are bicycles.  Compromise is the only way to make it work.


Let me guess, you also support Critical Mass...



Bob Kastigar said:

Foster Avenue is becoming a speedway to the expressways and enforcing the speed limits, stopping at red lights, and ticketing passing on the right isn't happening. Two lanes of traffic in each direction are not necessary. Traffic should be reduced to one lane in each direction, with a center divider for pedestrian crossing. A stop light should be added at Avers Avenue. Children are crossing Foster between and among Eugene Field Park and Gompers Park.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/a-road-diet-for-foster.fb28?source...

David, so far I think you've said EVERYTHING is a cause for your perceived lack of progress in bicycling. And yet we continue to have progress. Thank GOD you're not in charge of jack shit.

This would make a great skit for a Bike Winter comedy review night...

blair_ said:

In theory, I could see how these types of efforts would be a good idea.  The ones I've encountered have been poorly executed though.

I've been stopped twice in the Kinzie bike lane.  The first time was after I came to a full stop under the Metra tracks.  5-10 cyclists blew the stop sign completely - no one said a word to them.  I started to pedal through the intersection after stopping and a cop jumped out in front of me.  "You!  Pull over now!"  He quickly assigned a bike ambassador to talk to me.  She reminded me that bikes should also obey traffic laws.

Me:  But I stopped... 

Her:  All cyclists must obey...

Me:  I know, but I'm confused as to why you stopped me and not the cyclists that didn't stop.

Her:  It's also important to signal when needed and...

Me:  I stopped though.  Why did he pull me over if I stopped?

Her:  Sometimes cars aren't stopping at this intersection either.

Me:  I know!  But I DID stop.  And I'm not driving a car.  Look - a car just blew through the intersection without stopping.  Why isn't anyone going after him?

Her:  Would you like a bike map?

The second time was at the intersection near the East Bank Club.  Again, a group of cyclists blow through the intersection nearly hitting a few pedestrians.  A cop leaning against her bike shakes her head at them but then stops me.  I had just stopped and began to pedal through the intersection.  "Unless both of your feet hit the street, you're not stopped!"

In my experience, they're just yelling at whoever is easiest to stop.  Which is usually someone actually obeying the law.  Annoying.

It's the ANTI CAR AGENDA!!! RUN!!!!

David crZven 10.6 said:

This is exactly the kind of "anti-car" attitude which makes it impossible for real progress.   Foster Avenue  has become a major route for cars.   Many of the cross routes are badly choked.  What are those drivers supposed to do?  People don't die on request.  Targeting popular roads that actually move at a good pace do nothing more than make enemies.   Why Foster?  Why not encourage the development of a good parallel to Foster that can be made more bicycle friendly.  Like Bryn Mawr.  All that choking down Foster would do would make Bryn Mawr more dangerous and less likely to become what it shoudl be... a major East West Bike route.  

Cars are entitled to roads.  Bicycles are entitled to roads.  Cars are not entitled to all of the roads, but neither are bicycles.  Compromise is the only way to make it work.


Let me guess, you also support Critical Mass...



Bob Kastigar said:

Foster Avenue is becoming a speedway to the expressways and enforcing the speed limits, stopping at red lights, and ticketing passing on the right isn't happening. Two lanes of traffic in each direction are not necessary. Traffic should be reduced to one lane in each direction, with a center divider for pedestrian crossing. A stop light should be added at Avers Avenue. Children are crossing Foster between and among Eugene Field Park and Gompers Park.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/a-road-diet-for-foster.fb28?source...

Ok, this may be too little too late, but let's try to bring this back on track.

I for one think we need more education. Very few people wake up in the morning and decide to flaunt the rules. I think it is more a question of not knowing the rules. Unless you are an attorney specializing in traffic violations, it is nearly impossible to know all the rules that apply to you.

So education followed by enforcement for that small minority that refuses to follow the rules even after they have been explained. Yeah, I'm on board with that.

Folks, here's the Streetsblog post on this subject: http://chi.streetsblog.org/2013/05/22/enforcement-events-educate-dr...

Thanks for your help with this!

John Greenfield

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