The Chainlink

Today at about 6 pm I was riding on Randolph between Wabash ans State and there was a man on the ground right by the curb not moving and two bicycle patrol cops standing over him waiting for an ambulance.  Does anyone know what happened?  On this stretch of road there are often pedestrians stepping into the bike lane without looking.  I would expect them to get collide with cyclists occasionally.

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According to the fire department there was an incident at 5:49 p.m. Thursday on this block of "a person high or intoxicated" who was not hospitalized.

I ride in the traffic lanes through this stretch along Washington every afternoon.  I feel safer than in the PBL.

Glad no one was hit here. Hopefully the high/intoxicated dude came down OK.

I've had several close calls with pedestrians suddenly stepping into the PBL's on Washington. This is a bigger concern in my mind than peds wandering into the intersections waiting for lights. At least at the intersections you can see them in time to slow down, ring a bell, etc. I've had situations where peds walking along the edge of the sidewalk have literally just stepped directly in front of me with no warning, never even looking to see if there were bikes coming from behind. 

In hindsight, i wonder if the design would be better by flipping the bikes and bus lanes, so bikes ride between the buses and traffic, and the buses are right up against the curb? If there were room for concrete barriers, it would also do a better job of keeping everyone in their lanes and prevent unauthorized use of the bus lane (which is also a problem). At intersections, people would be less likely to wander into the bike lanes, since they'd have to first wander into the bus lane. 

The downside to this is the intersections might get more complicated, because you'd need to accommodate bikes turning across bus lanes. Also less confident cyclists might be more uncomfortable being next to moving traffic. 


Not to mention dumb pedestrians stepping in front of the buses. 'Cant fix stupid.

I would say it not so much stupidness as inattentiveness.  Based on my casual observation I think pedestrians are far less likely to walk into car traffic without looking than they are to step in front of a moving bike.  I am not saying it never happens.  It is just that peds are not in the habit of thinking as bike lanes as vehicle traffic lanes yet.

The fix is media coverage of bad collisions when they do happen.  Stories of people getting hurt resonate and over time raise awareness so that it will happen less frequently, IMHO.

There has been discussion of the Randolph bike lane at Canal.  This is definitely a point of conflict, but after several weeks of the bike lane being there the peds at rush hour are much more aware of the bike lane and usually look out for bikes passing through.  It is still not great, but the behavior of people there is much safer than it was when the bike lane was new.

I think the difference between that and the part near Michigan avenue during rush our is proportion of peds who are regular commuters.  Nearly everyone crossing Randolph at Canal during rush hour is a daily commuter and has gotten used to bike lanes.  That is not so much the case at Wabash & Randolph.

Darwinism will find a way...



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