The Chainlink

Dear Seasoned Chicago Cyclists,
Please try to impart the patience and compassion you would have for a first time bike commuter. Having experienced the roll out in DC and already had one scooter fatality, there's definitely a concern about safety. Basically, scooter users will likely be pedestrians (not cyclists) turned scooter riders so they won't know the ins and outs like a seasoned cyclist. Think first time Divvy user. So yes, you'll see them on the sidewalks (even though they aren't supposed to), bike lanes, and streets. Lots of patience will be necessary. While scooters can be a good addition to the non-car commuter, they do pose risks to themselves (mostly) and other vulnerable users of the roads.

Here's an article with the details of the scooter roll-out:

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That's any e bike, though I swear some of those are hitting 20 mph into a headwind with almost no peddling.

DC went down to 10 mph and the general consensus is that it’s not fast enough. They are moving it up to 15 mph.

Ten miles an hour is more than three times the walking speed of the average adult.  I think DC is making a mistake.  It's the nature of people to push for unsafe speeds.  Look at our highway system: 

"Nearly 37,000 additional people have died in traffic incidents over the last quarter of a century because of rising speed limits on our nation’s roadways, according to a new study from an insurance-industry-funded group.

The researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that for every 5 mph increase in a highway’s speed limit, roadway fatalities rose 8.5 percent."  Yet highway speed limits keep increasing.

Also, the idea of 18-mile-an-hour Divvies is frightening.  What is happening here is that the lobby for the scooter manufacturers is slowly (or rapidly) but surely making sure that excessively fast scooters will be allowed to go anywhere that bicycles do.  As that happens, because Americans avoid physical exercise at every opportunity, there is going to be a big shake-up in the bicycle industry.  It will be scooters (big and small) or die.  There will be a small minority of people who use power-assisted ebikes for legitimate purposes.  The majority will be people who just don't want to take the effort to pedal.  It's coming fast.  The century-old definition of a bicycle as a human-powered vehicle has been legally eliminated by legislative fiat.        


Exactly,  motorized e-scooter shares will be promoting future motorized (car) use instead of the healthy physical activity of bicycling IMO.

Lol. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That's like asking the liquor industry about problem drinking. The auto fatality rate dropped for years after the dreaded double nickel was eliminated. The NMSL was finally eliminated in 1995. At the time the fatality rate was 15.912. In 2014 it was 10.28, the lowest ever. It increase in 2015 and 2016, likely because of an increase in distracted driving, i.e. text messaging. The increase is very likely nothing to do with speed increases.

The Department of Transportation did a study years ago (and buried it) that concluded that drivers drive at a speed that they feel is safe, and not based on the speed limit. Speed limits are set notoriously low as a way to maximize revenue, not safety. Speed differential between vehicles is the biggest danger, followed by poor lane discipline.

Don't know why the site won't let me edit my responses.

Notice that the IIHS always uses body counts, and not rates. That's the #1 way to tell that someone is lying with statistics. Did the fatalities increase? I don't doubt it. Raise the speed limit to where it should be based on the 85th percentile, and more people will drive on that highway, as they can make better time without fear of being revenued, i.e. given a speeding ticket for driving at a reasonable speed based on road and traffic conditions.However, when one measures the fatality rate, it's been trending down for quite some time.

Just because people are comfortable driving at seventy on Lake Shore Drive doesn't mean it's built to contain a crash at that speed.

I drive Lake Short Drive regularly. The 85th percentile is ~50 mph.

It depends a lot on the time of day. I usually drive Saturday mornings where 50 would be pretty slow.

I was in a taxi two hours hour after New Year's eve 2001. Took the blue line in from O'Hare to downtown and didn't want to transfer to the red line to get home up around Belmont. In a rattly old Caprice the driver managed to hit a hundred on the stretch between Oak and Fullerton. Fun times, if only because I was a lot younger, then.

Speed on Lake Shore Drive depends on time of day and location. Based on the speed study done for the reconfiguration of North Lake Shore Drive, the 85th percentile speeds are close to 70mph in several key locations.

Oak Street: "Despite the geometric limitations of the Oak Street curve and the 40 mph posted speed limit, hourly 85th percentile speeds immediately north and south of the curve have been measured to be as high as 68 mph."

Irving Park: "Although the posted speed limit is 40 mph, the free‐flow hourly 85th percentile vehicle speeds measured along this section of NLSD throughout the day averaged between 60 and 65 mph and increased to as high as 70 mph in the early morning hours."

"Vehicle speed studies conducted at twelve locations along the length of NLSD for a 48 hour weekday period showed non‐compliance rates with the posted speed limit (40 mph at the time of the study) of 78% in the southbound direction and 95% in the northbound direction, with most compliance occurring only during periods of heavy congestion. Within the highest speed section of NLSD, nearly 9% of the 48‐hour traffic volume exceeded the posted speed limit by 30 mph or more. The speed study substantiates that prevailing vehicle speeds along much of the Outer Drive are substantially higher than the posted speed limit."

I had to use a car and drive Lake Shore Drive on Saturday and Sunday... I purposely go the speed limit, maybe 3 to 5 miles per hour faster if need be. Seeing drivers loose their shit - priceless. 


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