The Chainlink

Just about 10 minutes ago, on the final 3 blocks of my commute riding east on Wacker along the river I almost get hit and have no helmet cam.

I have been taking the LFP all summer, but was not sure what the condition was like today so I took the streets. This is maybe the 3rd time since May I rode streets instead of the LFP, i usually take the streets all winter.

So I was almost at work, eastbound on Wacker, I was taking the lane, in the middle of the lane, since I always take the lane on Wacker otherwise people get too close. And funny enough I was thinking about how I was in the middle of the lane, and wondering if I should instead be in the left tire line, and thinking to myself no one has an excuse not to see me with all the damn reflective stuff I have on and my reflective vest, when I see a girl hail a cab up ahead of me.

Of course, she's so close, and I can hear cars behind and to my left, with me in the middle, I foolishly assume any cab will pull in behind me. Most do, but not today. He did not even have the courtesy to race in front of me and slam on the brakes. no, he tried to sideswipe me, and I screamed "stop! look out! augghh!" or something and moved right and tried to get away (with the over 6" high curb there there is no where to go) and luckily I got around his front with only about 1' of room though it seemed like less. I was squeezed so far over I had to stop pedalling so my right pedal was in the high position to get it over the curb.

When I get around in front and brake and stumble/fall off my bike (my turning caused me to careen into the middle lane which was awesome and for a second I thought I'd get hit for real). I stand up (in the right lane :) ) and start yelling at him, and the dope is just smiling and waving at me. Finally I give up.

There is no way in hell this guy did not see me, or realize I was travelling the same speed as him (I was in front of him before he started changing lanes)

Then 2 minutes later as I'm parking, I think, I wish I had my camera. Then I think, I wish I thought to write down the cab number. There was too much adrenaline for me to really think straight.

 

 

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I think a lot of cab drivers have a temporary blindness to anything going on around them when they spot a fare. I'm sure he knew you were there, but I've seen a fair number of cabs cut off anyone else on the road to get a fare. Glad you survived.

Chucko is right. And not to be predjudice or anything like that; but if you assume some of the taxi drivers learn to drive in third world countries where almost anything goes; it doesn't surprise me. hope you and the bike are OK. It really is a death trap out there between the (out of state) tourists invading chicago; taxis and rude drivers. remember : we are scapegoats. not everyone is joyful the entire holiday time. when some folks get angry they need to find an outlet to vent; and sadly; sometimes we (cyclists) are a likely; albeit non-deserving target. be careful everyone.

 

DB

Sorry to hear about this aweful cab driver.

Nothing makes me more nervous on a bike that seeing someone in front of me hail a cab.  

Cab drivers going after fares can be some of the most reckless drivers.  On the occasions I take cabs, I always refuse to get into a cab that has drives recklessly to get my fare.  

 

I hope you got the cab number and company, its still worth reporting the driver to 311 even without video. 

+1 on each of Liz's points!

Liz said:

Sorry to hear about this aweful cab driver.

Nothing makes me more nervous on a bike that seeing someone in front of me hail a cab.  

Cab drivers going after fares can be some of the most reckless drivers.  On the occasions I take cabs, I always refuse to get into a cab that has drives recklessly to get my fare.  

 

I hope you got the cab number and company, its still worth reporting the driver to 311 even without video. 

Last time I tried to report a cab there was a ridiculous process by which they sent you out a form to fill out (look for it in 7-10 business days).

There needs to be a better way . . .

I am just starting that process h'.  I have called 311 and have submitted paperwork. (Yes, yellow cab 378 on LaSalle, do not squeeze me in to the concrete divider at Maple, do not tell me twice "Next time I will hit you", and please drive the proper speed.)

Does anyone have experience on the steps to get anything done?  Is it even possible?

 

h' said:

Unfortunately there is a multi-step process involved once you call 311 that few of us would think it worthwhile to pursue.

Liz said:

 

I hope you got the cab number and company, its still worth reporting the driver to 311 even without video. 

Thanks Cameron.  Yes, I have done those steps.  I didn't know about the 3 complaints issue though.  I just want the mans name.  I did get the thank you letter.  Maybe it is time to call about this again...


When hearing how cab drivers get off (and I mean not have to pay for a ticket) because the police department is not represented in court, doesn't give me much hope in that procedure.


Cameron Puetz said:

A few weeks after you submit the paperwork, you'll get a letter from I believe the Department of Consumer Affairs. The letter will simply thank you for taking the time to contact them and state the they have investigated your claim and placed it in the driver's file. If more than three complaints are received then the driver will face disciplinary action. I have no idea if the Department of Consumer Affairs actually does anything with the complaint other than mail you a nice letter.

Michelle Gregorek said:

I am just starting that process h'.  I have called 311 and have submitted paperwork. (Yes, yellow cab 378 on LaSalle, do not squeeze me in to the concrete divider at Maple, do not tell me twice "Next time I will hit you", and please drive the proper speed.)

Does anyone have experience on the steps to get anything done?  Is it even possible?

Thanks, wasn't sure there was an actual outcome. Would be great to get the "insider's" perspective from someone at a cab co. as to whether there's ultimately any real consequence.

 

The letter will simply thank you for taking the time to contact them and state the they have investigated your claim and placed it in the driver's file. If more than three complaints are received then the driver will face disciplinary action.

As much of a pain as it is, calling 311 is a more effective way to get bad cab drivers off the street. I have a friend who got cut off by a cab, filed all of the paperwork and that cab driver was off of the street for 3 weeks.

 

The process is a mess and needs to be 1) understandable 2) simpler and 3)serious enough to get cab drivers to behave.

Charlie, I guess I'm not quite clear on what it is you do.

Are you by chance in any sort of position to help get this process streamlined?


Charlie Short said:

 

The process is a mess and needs to be 1) understandable 2) simpler and 3)serious enough to get cab drivers to behave.

The Tribune has been reporting on the process of citizen complaints and it's shortcomings:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-taxi-hearings-20111...

I am primarily the manager of the City of Chicago's Bicycling Ambassadors. We also work on training for city agencies on share the road stuff. That includes cabs, police, cta and department of revenue drivers.

 

My knowledge of cab issues mostly comes from helping with the bike-centered curriculum that all new cab drivers go through. Since the bike ambassadors get so many questions on "what can I do about..." I keep pretty up to date on stuff like this.

 

Am I in a position to help more than some folks? Absolutely. Is change on this issue going to come quickly? Absolutely not. While the current process for reporting a cab sucks, it's still better than a lot of options.
h' said:

Charlie, I guess I'm not quite clear on what it is you do.

Are you by chance in any sort of position to help get this process streamlined?


Charlie Short said:

 

The process is a mess and needs to be 1) understandable 2) simpler and 3)serious enough to get cab drivers to behave.

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