The Chainlink

You blew the red light east bound on Lawrence at Damen at 5:26 pm this evening.


There was enough time for the biker in front of me to make it half way into the intersection, northbound on Damen, before you came whizzing past my front wheel.


I yelled "You're an idiot!" at your big haired chick, self, and you looked back at me. I meant it!


I woulda testified for any of the cars, that managed to not kill you, if they had.


Keep riding like a tard!




Witness bad behavior during your commute? Feel free to post. Maybe that lovely human can read it and think they are famous. Maybe you can also inspire the whole generation of kids to shower but we can start with small things.

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Moreover, no bicyclist may be passed on any one-way street, nor may the bicyclist be encourage to move aside and let traffic go through.

Furthermore, autos shall yield to any bicyclist approaching a four-way stop sign intersection when said bicyclist is within 25 feet of the intersection or 10 seconds at the bicyclist's prevailing speed.

There is definitely a disconnect. Many around the world now see climate change as the foremost issue facing humanity. Do you see it in this way? From politicians, researchers, private citizens are calls for 100% renewable energy driven solutions, as well as moves to 100% sustainable development within the next 10-30 years. What does this imply? Hollow meetings are held and agreements made that are broken. Even when they are spelled out, major interests continue to skirt them, making counter-calls for "more efficiency over the long-term". What is the disconnect? Major industry interests call for "50%", "25%", "15%" improvement in their respective industries. This is something that is generally referred to as a business-as-usual outlook (BAU).

KG: ...enabling hypermobiity is a very good thing.

Here ( is some more background on hypermobility. The author of the document, John Adams, is thought to have coined the term hypermobility (in regard to transportation) around the late 90s. The definition of hypermobility, in his words, is the following: "Hypermobility: too much of a good thing. Mobility is liberating and empowering. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. The growth in the numbers exercising their freedom and power is fouling the planet and jamming its arteries." Further on in the document is a nice summary of the social consequences of hypermobility, including: More urban sprawl, more polarization between rich and poor, more anonymous and less convivial (less people know their neighbors), less child-friendly, less culturally distinctive, more dangerous for people not in cars, fatter and less fit, more crime ridden, subject to a more Orwellian style of policing, less trusting, less democratic.

KG: Most bikes in the US are made halfway around the world, so while I appreciate your thoughts David, we have very different knowledge base at the outset about the value of limiting mobility. People have places to go and things to do, and enabling hypermobiity is a very good thing. Helping people in Chicago, DC, and Philadelphia all in the same day is a good thing. Ignaz Schwinn moving from Germany to Chicago and building up the company which built my first bike was likewise a good thing. This company, and an economic renaissance the 50s -70s drove a massive expansion of cycling in the US.

To begin with, an opinion, shared by many, is that oil consumption needs to be reduced significantly within the near future. Let's envision this world: Container shipping is primarily run on oil. What does significant reduction within the next 10-30 years look like? What would it look like today? Well, to begin with, bikes shipped all over the world would immediately come to an end. Again, many people in the world see climate change as the foremost issue facing humanity.

Regarding moving production around to various countries (you mention Schwinn), one foremost reason for doing this is, in many cases, exploitation of labor. Some equate capitalism with a worse form of slavery, in that in global capitalism, one set of workers (slaves) may be simply fired (discarded) and others picked up more quickly and easily and with less consequences than in the older form of slavery. Nation states ought to be aiding each other in moving technology around. If there is great technology in Germany, then bring it to Chicago, and save dumping the billions of pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere that transporting made products to the US causes. Let's remember that everyone's goal (in light of climate change, if you feel this is an issue worthy of repair) ought to be: Reduce CO2 emissions immediately, not get something a bit cheaper for today.

KG: While some wish for a smaller world and limited mobility which I doubt will come to pass, significant improvements in safety are viable, and don't require a dislike of people, cars and economics. Roads, cars and jets all bring people together for a better world. So do bicycles manufactured on an industrial scale.

I doubt electric cars, in their current form factor, will come to pass. Oil-friendly interests want oil on the market for a long time to come. If EVs do come to pass, they will require small scale implementation, not the massive two-ton versions currently in demand. Sustainable transit would only appear to include EVs of the mini-EV variety, on the scale of let's say e-bikes and "fortwos". Global capitalism is driving the desire for climate harming technology such as large-scale roads, cars, and jets. What would no-oil look like today? It is doubtful people would care too much about going long distance to "bring people together". Why cause climate change to bring people together, when instead you can get to know your next door neighbor for zero climate change cost? After all, cities (not nation-states) are the mixing pot of society.

KG: Meanwhile, mixing transit modes in the same space is what adds substantial risk. Horses on an airport runway are a bad idea, and avoiding that kind of thinking with cycling is key. While a "walk down the street" sort of example is interesting, few people on the planet will ever have their deli, school, church, clinic, grocery store, park, hiking trail, lake, cabin, art gallery, coffee shop, furniture store, movie theater, community center, bike shop, bauxite mine, clinic, hardware store, windmill, water supply, French restaurant, recycling center, and Italian restaurant all on the same street. So we can solve for safer and efficient transportation or start eliminating those things from people's lives.

For most of humanity's existence, having everything within walking distance was pretty much a required part of life. Saying humanity cannot do what it has done for all of its existence seems quite nonsensical.

KG: Curtailing automobile speed beyond the engineered roadway rate solves a third of the MVA deaths per billion miles. Alcohol is roughly another third. Alcohol on the part of cyclists ourselves drives about a fourth of cycling deaths, likewise intoxicated pedestrians comprise roughly a third of pedestrians in pedestrian deaths. Getting bullet trains to go faster doesn't necessarily make them riskier. Speed on a bike above about 20 usually does however. We can hope people just want to walk up and down their street (not gonna happen) or we can come together on safer, faster transit, and we have many non-car-hating and non-capitlaism-hating opportunities to do so, and that will help make cycling safer for all of us.

Making things a bit safer is not going to put an end to climate change nor to cycling deaths. No doubt cars are the main drivers of cycling deaths. Cars have torn apart communities for 100 years. Car and oil companies have monopolistically torn apart mass transit systems to this end.

Nation-states' non-transfer of technology is helping to drive climate change, alongside capitalism's exploitation of workers. Saying goodbye to oil tomorrow means finding ways to get sh** done. Walking and cycling have a big role to play in this. Maybe people require some way to come together to solve these issues, something that capitalism and nation-states do not offer?

In any case, we can move motor vehicle deaths to zero tomorrow by banning motor vehicles. If long-distance travel is required, mass transit systems exist for the express purpose of safely moving people about. Why settle year after year for 30,000 of your fellow Americans dying in explosions of glass and metal, white blankets strewn across crosswalks covering the dead? I argue that joyriding is really the main draw of automobility. Is joyriding really so important to the health of modern society? Or is it instead that joyriding is a marketing ploy to look cool and feel great. Like cigarettes! So let's be sure to advertise them to children, especially in the form of Disney flicks! As such, this comes at the expense of 30,000 people every year in the US (and untold millions of injured annually as well), not to mention climate change, nor the million of drivers in America who see automobiles as their only option, and are thus stuck in non-healthy lifestyle driving situations (i.e., fatter and less fit).

Btw, forgot to mention, thanks for your detailed and thought-out response KG!

KG: You are absolutely correct to point out as you did "For most of humanity's existence, having everything within walking distance was pretty much a required part of life." Fortunately for humanity, the industrial revolution (and capitalism) then came along, giving rise to the doubling of life expectancy globally, and even more to my own interests, to cycling. We're not going back to the plight of humanity before that, and the continued improvement in MV safety will continue as well.

Autos came on long after the industrial revolution and have caused much death and destruction since then. Same with jets. For the past half-century, interests have been aware of issues surrounding climate change and use of their technology and have done nothing, or worse yet covered it up.

KG:  And we can replicate this progress for cycling too instead of trying to impair that for cars and all sorts of transit modes.

So there needs to be another industrial revolution to make up for the inadequacies of autos?

KG: As is discussed elsewhere with respect Blue Line pedestrian crossing accidents, the solution isn't to ban the 'el here in Chicago.

Agreed. However, the argument is not that the 'el should be banned. Instead, it is that transporting 3 million Chicagoans by rail, bike, and other sustainable transit systems would produce an exponential reduction over autos in transit-related death.

Transform the majority of two-way and one-way city streets into
split protected bike-car lanes by reducing car parking by 50%
(one side only), limiting car traffic to one direction only, and
introducing barriers ("protected lane") between cars and bikes.

Implement this on 4/5 city streets.

In this example, create crossing guards (same as train crossing guards) that come down at all intersections with Grand, Chicago, Damen, and Ashland.

Reduce speeds to 5-15mph in these sections.

At all intersections, cars must yield to bikes.

Bikes are not expected to stop at intersections, only reduce speed.

If there are complaints regarding loss of parking space, buying smaller cars, SUVs, trucks, etc. will reduce the need for parking space.

Time crossing such that "all bikes cross at once". That is, e.g., on Grand Ave, three red lights (with crossing guards) come on at once.

You: one of the all-too-regular Lincoln Ave. bike riders who weaves around the crossing guard stopping traffic by my kid's school at Lincoln & Cornelia. I am compelled to say something as this morning I couldn't help but notice your cluelessness extended to actually giving her a smile and a wave while you ignored her and the huge stop sign she was holding up.

Maybe you've confused her smiling at you in the past with how she regularly shakes her head in disbelief at what a boor you and other terribly behaved cyclists are. But just in case anyone else here is unclear on the concept, when a school crossing guard is stopping traffic to allow kids and families to cross the street, this applies to cyclists as well. This makes us look terrible as a demographic.

I agree. The same thing applies (IMO) when there are cars waiting at a red light and a cyclist goes right on through. What must they think of us?

yes, but that isn't a reason to justify lacking in safe accommodations. I hear this pro-car argument all the time - oh, cyclists are law breakers. We are more likely to break the law to keep ourselves safe especially if we lack safe accommodations and protected bike lanes. OTH, motorists break laws out of impatience and distraction. And with so much of the population driving SUVs now and using their phones, I'm far more worried about them then one cyclist that blew a red (especially if they did it when the intersection was clear). p.s. We deserve safe accommodations NO MATTER WHAT. I would like a world where parents can ride and walk with their kids to school without worrying about dangerous speeding cars. This morning a few of the cyclists in the DC area had their kids brought to tears because of trucks and motorists speeding and breaking the 3-feet rule. 
footnote: I follow the laws 90% of the time and reserve the rest to keep me safe. 

In this case, cyclists have actually been given bike lanes. There is absolutely no justifiable concerned-for-one's-safety reason for a cyclist to ever ignore a school crossing guard. You are supposed to stop, period.

Obviously cars are the bigger concern - it's why the crossing guard is there in the first place - but this is nevertheless unsafe and bad for community relations behavior for cyclists. This all gets back to the larger issue - if we want to be treated as legitimate road users, we have to respect the most vulnerable other users. In this case, beyond the kids/parents it's also the poor crossing guard standing in a crosswalk in a neon vest holding a stop sign.



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