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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Interesting article. My last personal experience with process was in '08. It looks like things have gotten a lot worse since then.

Duppie said:

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

Charlie - What is included in the bike-centered curriculum you mentioned?  Is it available on-line anywhere? 

When you say the process sucks, but better than other options....what are the other options?  Can a private citizen take a cab driver to court?

Charlie Short said:

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.

How timely!  I received in the mail today a letter from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection City of Chicago.  It states the driver has been identified and the complaint has been recorded.

It also says if you want to personal legal action to immediately consult a lawyer. 

It does not give me the drivers name, but I do have a number to call now.

Cameron's right. There is the tort of assault which provides a private right of action for any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury upon the person of another, when coupled with an apparent present ability to do so, and any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm.  Intentional infliction of emotional distress, like the name says, requires the plaintiff to prove "intent" or outrageously reckless behavior which results in severe emotional distress as documented by a mental health professional. It sounds like it was a harrowing experience, and I'm glad it wasn't worse, but there's still the issue of damages.

Cameron Puetz said:

I am not a lawyer, and I know there are several lurking on this forum who can probably give a better answer, but I believe the answer is that anyone who wants to try can take a cab driver to civil court. However for your case to have any chance of success in court you would have to suffer some documented, material harm. A near miss would probably be thrown out no matter how poorly the cab driver was behaving.

Michelle Gregorek said:

Charlie - What is included in the bike-centered curriculum you mentioned?  Is it available on-line anywhere? 

When you say the process sucks, but better than other options....what are the other options?  Can a private citizen take a cab driver to court?


The curriculum is not available right now. But we'll be working with them more this year, so I'll look into it.

The other options are: 1) pursue them in civil court and/or 2) hope that in the case of a crash, the responding officer enforces the law.

When I got hit by a cab, the officer wouldn't give the cab any kind of ticket because the cab driver kept saying "it wasn't my fault." It was ridiculous.

Michelle Gregorek said:

Charlie - What is included in the bike-centered curriculum you mentioned?  Is it available on-line anywhere? 

When you say the process sucks, but better than other options....what are the other options?  Can a private citizen take a cab driver to court?

Sorry to kind of shift gears, but what kind of helmet cam do you use?  I have had plenty of times where I could have filed a report but do to no evidence, or he said/she said, I rarely bother.  I generally just keep a quick detach u lock so that in the event I need to break someone's glass I can.  After reading about how cyclist in Cali are getting helmet cams to sue taxi's and other motorists texting or distracted while driving, I thought it might be worth looking into. 


I have a contour GPS from my days in the military, but the battery sucks, likely due to the GPS.  I had been researching different cams, especially since getting a good deal now or after the holidays is pretty likely.  There is an oregon scientific cam that has pretty good low light resolution and fairly cheap.  But it looks bulky, though apparently great for motorcross. 


So looking for somewhere in the middle.  Being that you say you normally have a cam, just wondering which one and is it too bulk is that why you didn't have it on? 

I have a Contour also, they are pretty cheap now and under $150 for the base HD version. But yes, they are annoying to recharge and delete the videos every day, which is why i get lax about it. 16G is not that much if you have the settings on high. I don't know if any other cameras are more convenient, I'd check out this forum for ideas on helmetcams.

what i'd really like in a helmet cam:  looping recording so i don't have to manually delete the videos if there is nothing worth saving.

I made sure to wear mine today, but didn't even see anyone run a red let alone almost hit me.

The funny thing is, after that guy got killed by the former DA in Toronto, and the guy almost killed by the Pritzker son last year, I thought "why are they taking on cars after getting hit, why not run away?" but then I got off my bike and yelled at the cabbie too, completely forgetting to get the cab number. I guess adrenaline makes you do stupid things.

I have a Contour HD that I'm going to start wearing.  I just wonder how cases will be handled in the event you have camera evidence or harassment, dangerous behavior, abuse, etc.

I also wonder if the LA Law (Anti-harassment) being implemented here would actually help in facilitating the pursuit of such cases.  Maybe we should push ATA and/or our Alderman, Mayor to implement a similar law.


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