The Chainlink

Speed Trap Alert! Where there are Chicago Bike Ambassadors there are Cops Ticketing You

It's 5pm on a late summer day, the sky is dark, and I hear thunder in the distance. I am biking south down Halsted trying to beat the rain home, while trying my best not to get hit by angry rush hour commuters who are speeding heavily after barely making the light on Roosevelt. Up ahead I see a line of cars stopped for the light on 18th St. Making a rapid assessment of my surroundings I see that there is no oncoming traffic and the sidewalk is clear. So instead of biking along the right side of the queue of cars and then trying to cut the cars off and make a quick left hand turn in the intersection I decide to cross the street and hop on the wide sidewalk for the brief 20 meters to the crosswalk.

Everything is going perfectly, until I hear someone scream at me, "WRONG SIDE!!!! OFF THE SIDEWALK!!!" To this I simply start biking faster, smile and think to myself, Whatever, this is a great line and it is safer then if I would have obeyed the road law of cars. Then I hear the screeching of tires and revving of an engine. FUCK!... I don't even have to look because I know that it is a cop. Sure enough a block down 18th St I hear the distressing sound of a cop siren "RWWWUPP, RWWUPPPP"

I slow down and the cop pulls up next to me. "Hey! Turn around and go back to 18th and Halsted."

"Why?" I inquire.

"You are being cited for blowing the intersection."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah, now go back to 18th and Halsted."

So, I turn around and bike back to 18th and Halsted. All the while the cop is slowly tailing me making sure I don't dip down a side street... I won't lie, the thought did cross my mind. When I get there I am greeted by another squad car, two bike cops and three Chicago Bike Ambassadors. They then spend 10 minutes lecturing me on the rules of the road, and that they are trying to raise awareness. I explain my situation, I was trying to get home before the rain and am sorry I broke the laws (I could not tell them what I really thought because I can not afford the $200+ ticket) and they let me off with a warning.

And here is the warning, "Bikers beware. You are subject to the same laws of cars and the CPD will start ticketing soon."

I don't know if this is complete bullshit, but with the parking meters being privatized the cops may not have enough cushy ticketing to do/quotas being met. If that is the case prepare for bike speed traps, bike parking tickets, and tickets for having no brakes!

If you are still reading, please use this thread to post bike speed traps and stories where the law is cracking down on cyclists. Also, keep an eye out for those pesky Chicago Bike Ambassadors because they are now working with the 5-0

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Tickets -0
also- just kidding H3!

Gabe said:
Uh oh Burden, that's fuel for the fire. Anyone wanna bet on how many tickets were given out for parking in the bike lane? ;-)
h3, just had to interject that you cited the Chicago Municipal Code; when you get written on one of those code violation tickets you end up with either an option to pay or you have to request a court date with a hearing officer. If you request the latter, you're given a date about 3 mos. later. You get no reminders and are automatically found responsible for the violation if you miss court. If you show, plead not guilty and listen to the stupid scare tactics then provide a witness and a good reason (or documentation) why you were in violation, it gets dropped. Understand that for the Municipal violations, the witness (CPD Officer) won't show, it's not worth the court time that they pay out for the revenue return on the violation. The city gambles on the fact that you will pay outright, forget to mail in the ticket to contest or forget your court date. Even if you are found guilty in the Municipal court you may still appeal the finding in the circuit court. You may have to pony up an appeal bond, but you can still protect your rights (or stick it to him), this applies to all Municipal Code violations not covered under specific courts, ie: housing, traffic, etc.
As cyclists, we should not be used as the subject of revenue generation. Just my 2 cents.

h3 said:
9-52-050 Riding in single file required—Exceptions -

Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride other than single file except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

Added Coun. J. 7-12-90, p. 18634

This means that you could ride as many-abreast as you like as long as everyone is within the bike lane.

Otherwise, Gabe, I don't agree with your interpretation and I don't think it would be upheld in court-- a pair of cyclists and an overtaking separate cyclist would not be construed as riding 3-abreast-- unless you get one of those crazy judges who has no pants under his robe and makes loud farting sounds all day, or worse, the interpretation is going to skew more heavily towards the intent of the law than the most exacting possible application of it.

Gabe said:
Sorry Donray, IL State Law says that riders can only ride two abreast. So if the riders in front of you were next to each other they have effectively formed a roadblock. If they were single file then the cops were in the wrong. Either way it was a useless exercise for them as they should be doing something more important.
DonRay A.K.A. Zesty said:
I was headed north from 33rd on Halsted this afternoon around 3pm. I come up around 30th and there are two cyclists in the bike lane I want to pass. I pull out into the street (outta the bike lane) in order to safely pass my fellow cyclists after I checked there was no car traffic behind me. - I'm in the process of passing the bikes when 2 bike cops that are riding in the opposite (southbound) bike lane pull across the street and head directy at me. They proceed to attempt to block my path (in the middle of the street!!) and as I zig zag around them one yells "stay outta the street!"
I pretended I didn't hear and kept riding with no problems. However, I do find this totally ridiculous...and unless I'm way wrong, I was breaking no laws by using the entire lane in order to pass another cyclist.
Score another one for CPD making up random laws.
Hey ya Howie! ;-) I'm not gonna go lookin through the boards to find the excerpt but if you feel like it...In the Barrington Discussion there was a full listing of applicable laws and one of the things Barrington was changing was that you could ride two abreast and could now only ride single file. This was spelled out and iwas kinda shocked cause i figgered it was already single file in the bike lane and that passing was supposed to take place within that space. It's two abreast. as far as passing most judges are crazy and if two cyclists were next to each other and you went into the street to pass I think it would hold up cause we are the new revenue stream.
I'll ask if anyone I know can find it MARK.
FWIW, I've seen a ton of cops the last few days on Wilson-- on the commute home (not to work). They are very likely out to address the gang violence in the streets that has been much publicized. However, I've safely run stop signs and reds (essentially treating them as yields) while riding alongside cop cars and right in front of bike cops and no one has batted an eye.

My guess is that if the city is serious about trying to ticket us, they will set up designated spots to do it. The regular cop isn't going to bother unless it's real slow. I suppose one benefit of living close to Uptown is that the cops have a lot more important things to worry about--- and I don't think they want to stop a cyclist when they're being crucified on the news (fair or not).

Just thought I'd chime in. I don't think it's a city-wide crackdown.
Law enforcement is tied up in the trap between acting reasonable and feeding their families, just like most people.
Good point. This should be a surprise to no-one. I'm pretty sure there was a thread about here also wasn't there?

Just for the record, I "run" red lights and stops signs when it is safe and fair to do so - that is, if no-one has the legal right of way on the cross street. This includes bicyclists! In the last week I've had to jam on the brakes twice to not run into a fellow bicyclist when I had the green light.

As for iggi's concern about a double standard: the way I see it, we are not obligated to follow laws which should not apply to us or should not exist in the first place. We are a different* class of road users and should be considered as such.

I am curious to see if our so-called bike advocacy organization has an opinion on this. The status quo has been tolerable until now: the laws should not apply to bikes in the same way that they apply to motor vehicles for obvious reasons, but since they were generally not enforced it was generally not a problem. If they are going to be enforced then we need to get the laws changed.

*safer, slower, less planet-wrecking, healthier etc

burden said:
h3 said:
The current thread is about mistaking a collaborative educational outreach effort by two city agencies for a power-tripping revenue-suck and then ranting at "the man."


Come on, now. It's not like it was announced in advance or anything.
I agree about changing the laws to be more appropriate to the cyclist. Something like Idaho’s stop-as-yield statute
http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2009/07/28/a-stop-sign-solution/
I agree with Tony's rationale re bicycles v. automobiles and the differences between the two.

I think it's a tough sell, however, to get the public informed and behind the idea of treating cyclists as "traffic" and respecting us as they do cars, but also carving out exceptions that allow us to do all the things that people sitting in cars wish they could do.

There's no easy solution to any of this. I run reds and stops when there's no one there or when approaching traffic is a block away. I know I'm breaking the law by doing it, and I know that some motorists get annoyed by it (the ones sitting at the light)-- but I'm not going to sit there and wait out the light when there's no traffic. To me it's illogical (and inefficient).

Just my two cents.



Tony Adams said:
Good point. This should be a surprise to no-one. I'm pretty sure there was a thread about here also wasn't there?

Just for the record, I "run" red lights and stops signs when it is safe and fair to do so - that is, if no-one has the legal right of way on the cross street. This includes bicyclists! In the last week I've had to jam on the brakes twice to not run into a fellow bicyclist when I had the green light.

As for iggi's concern about a double standard: the way I see it, we are not obligated to follow laws which should not apply to us or should not exist in the first place. We are a different* class of road users and should be considered as such.

I am curious to see if our so-called bike advocacy organization has an opinion on this. The status quo has been tolerable until now: the laws should not apply to bikes in the same way that they apply to motor vehicles for obvious reasons, but since they were generally not enforced it was generally not a problem. If they are going to be enforced then we need to get the laws changed.

*safer, slower, less planet-wrecking, healthier etc

burden said:
h3 said:
The current thread is about mistaking a collaborative educational outreach effort by two city agencies for a power-tripping revenue-suck and then ranting at "the man."


Come on, now. It's not like it was announced in advance or anything.
So you demand different laws mainly on the fact that cyclists are somehow better, morally superior citizens? That's funny.

Can traffic law be improved upon? No doubt. But let's start enforcing existing laws first: No parking in bike lanes, keep 3 feet separation while passing, the dooring ordinance, no cell-phone use while driving, and yes, ticket self-righteous-cyclists-who-think-they can-blow-through-red-lights-because-they-exhibit-moraly-superior-behavior. That should cut down on a lot of accidents/injuries
Duppie


Tony Adams said:
the way I see it, we are not obligated to follow laws which should not apply to us or should not exist in the first place. We are a different* class of road users and should be considered as such.

I am curious to see if our so-called bike advocacy organization has an opinion on this. The status quo has been tolerable until now: the laws should not apply to bikes in the same way that they apply to motor vehicles for obvious reasons, but since they were generally not enforced it was generally not a problem. If they are going to be enforced then we need to get the laws changed.

*safer, slower, less planet-wrecking, healthier etc

burden said:
h3 said:
The current thread is about mistaking a collaborative educational outreach effort by two city agencies for a power-tripping revenue-suck and then ranting at "the man."


Come on, now. It's not like it was announced in advance or anything.
The laws should be changed to be more appropriate to the cyclist. Something like Idaho’s stop-as-yield statute
http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2009/07/28/a-stop-sign-solution/
No. I don't insist on different treatment because we are better or morally superior citizens, but because we are engaged in better or morally superior behavior. There is a huge difference.

As Dan M notes it will be tough sell. But it is not a ground breaking concept. What is the HOV lane? A special lane on a freeway reserved for those who are engaging in the morally superior act of car-pooling or riding a motorcycle. Do some drivers stuck in the regular schlub lanes resent it when a car-pool whizzes by in the HOV lane? Sure. This is the same resentment that lots of drivers feel when a bike sails through a red light that Dan M also mentions.

What about tax incentives for green home improvements or motor vehicles? Or the contrary, excise taxes loaded upon cigarettes? All of these are versions of the same concept.

Duppie said:
So you demand different laws mainly on the fact that cyclists are somehow better, morally superior citizens? That's funny.

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