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Husband, wife sue "reckless" Dearborn bike lane cyclist

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"failed to operate his bicycle in the right-hand lane of the bike path"? 

I do recall something about bikes having some obligation to have breaks but that might be another city, not sure.

Obviously some guy riding a fixie.  Personally, I think guys riding fixies are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the hostility drivers feel for cyclists in Chicago.  I will make an exception for Chainlink members, who are probably among the responsible ones.

From another website, here's the law:

The relevant Chicago ordinance states:

(b) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. 9-52-080.

The relevant Illinois statute states:

(c) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will adequately control movement of and stop and hold such bicycle. 625 ILCS 5/11-1507.

Some fixie apologists argue that the feet and legs of fixie riders are "brakes" under the definition of the law.  This is a complete non-starter argument under the statute.  The brakes contemplated under the statute are part of the physical equipment of the bicycle, not a body part of the cyclist.

Fixies have set back the cause of cycling in Chicago considerably.  But what's that compared to the joy of riding around without helmets and brakes, being unable to stop quickly, and wearing all-black outfits at night without lights?  Fixiests, thy name is Narcissus.  



We don't know if it was a fixie rider or not. We get you don't like them, and they probably don't like you either. Let's not put the cart before the horse -- why don't we wait for more info to come out of this?

I've always wondered about the way that law is written. If you think about it, the skidding proposition doesn't make sense for several reasons. First, does it refer to both wheels? Since attempting to skid your front wheel will likely result in an endo. Second, ability to skid a wheel depends on the type and width of the tire. I can skid my track bike much more easily than my commuter bike, in large part due to the width of the tires and total area of contact with the ground. Third, the law ignores how physics work. Static friction (ie breaking without a skid) will result in more rapid de-acceleration than kinetic friction (ie skidding your wheel). The coefficient of static friction, Us is always greater than the coefficient of kinetic friction, Uk, for those of your who like physics notation. This is why cars all have anti-lock brakes.

Anyways, I know it's not directly relevant to the case, but the way the Chicago ordinance is written has always struck me as a bit backwards. 

Coming late to this thread. R W wrote:

I can skid my track bike much more easily than my commuter bike, in large part due to the width of the tires and total area of contact with the ground.

I second that. I actually ride a fixie commuter, but it's got cantilever brakes front and rear, and is shod with 700x35c Schwalbe Kojaks. I ain't going to be skidding anything anytime soon. I can stop on a dime though.

Thank you for your gracious exception.

For the record, I've seen plenty of bad and reckless driving from roadies. But let's not fight (although "set back the cause of chicago cycling" do sound like fighting words). 

I agree fixies should be equipped with at least a front brake. 

I think we all need to use caution and slow down/stop instead of speeding into a close call or worse. I'd rather be late than on the pavement. Momentum ain't much if you can't move.

Turns out the bike had a brake:

"Contrary to the claim, Gagui was riding a bike with a brake, Freeman said. He added that the cyclist’s lane position will be examined during the process of discovery, the exchange of evidence between the two sides."

"...were near the intersection."

Me confoozd- were they in the bike lane, whereupon collided with?

Needs more facts.

Just not enough information in the article to come to a conclusion on the collision.

Because the cyclist was going southbound, there's a chance she only checked northbound traffic as that is the only direction motorists are allowed to travel on Dearborn.  But I've seen people step blindly off the curb because they are only thinking of car traffic.  The article is weak on details. Here's one from the Chicagoist for non subscribers to Sun Times.  Were they jaywalking?  Did the cyclist blow a red light?  Clearly he stayed at the scene of the accident otherwise they wouldn't have his information.  

There really is not enough information in the article to draw much of a conclusion. We know the cyclist was in a bike lane. We know a pedestrian was struck in the bike lane. We don't know much else.  We don't know the speed, the light, the circumstances.  We don't know if brakes really mattered. We don't know if she was oblivious or if he was a ninja. We probably think we know that if we were either one of them we think we wold have avoided the accident...or would we?  Hindsight is  20/20 and online hindsight is x-ray vision. If only we could be Supermen and women when we are out there.

Exactly. In this news story and others like it, there is rarely enough detail to get an accurate sense of what happened and fairly attribute blame for the crash.


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