The Chainlink

Share your pics, videos, streets, stories of what you find in the bike lane of the non-bike variety that has an impact on your ride and/or your safety. I've decided to keep it a little more open ended - cars, snow, buses, garbage, cabs, etc. If they shouldn't be in the bike lane, go ahead and add it to this thread. Please be safe if you are taking pics or video! :-) 

My hope is that we can collectively build some evidence of what we see when riding in the city with the overall hope of better enforcement of "bikes only" and improving maintenance. 

Update: More Hashtags to Capture Vehicles in the Bike Lane

With popular hashtags:

#LaneSpreading (Chicago Bike Selling)

#ClearTheWay (ActiveTrans), there are many options to capture violations.

We think you should use ALL of them AND post your photos on The Chainlink. ;-)

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Argonne, what you are doing is absolutely advocacy. I'm thankful for your efforts.

You can take it from someone who was riding in Chicago long before we had any bike lanes that even the thermoplastic and green paint has made a lot of difference. It sends a crystal clear, high visibility message to drivers (and people on the fence about cycling) that bicyclists officially are welcome users of the roadways.

So to that end, you are correct, when these highly-visible bike lanes are not respected as such, it sends the opposite message. Hence the need for all of us to help out and call attention to the problem.

To the people questioning how effective this is, I would say two things. One, you have subscribed to a discussion called "what's this doing in the bike lane?" It's not a rhetorical question IMO.

Second, with less effort than is currently being spent complaining about Argonne's vigilance, one can submit a FOIA requesting complaints and enforcement of the ordinance. I would imagine this is a CPD issue:

But here's a link to CDOT's FOIA portal as well:

The relevant wisdom here is "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

The number of drivers who attempt to kill me is pretty much the same now as it was then; there's just a special, clearly marked, lane for them to do it in.

Not much of a improvement IMHO

On the Jackson Blvd bike lane, the lane has been moved closer to the curb as it passes over the expressway. Cars can't seem to recognize that they're parking in the lane.


I consider actions that encourage people to put butts on saddles and bikes in traffic advocacy.

You complain and make trasportive cycling sound more dangerous than it is.

The two years of this thread have demonstrated that paint is not infrastructure.  If it is physically possible to use a space for deliveries, double parking, ride share and taxi loading/unloading, etc., that space will not be available for cyclists to use.

Rules are rarely the most effective way to enforce good behavior.  If a wide, straight, street has a posted speed limit of 25 mph, drivers will never obey, because it's so easy to what they want to do, which is go much faster.  But drivers will slow down if physical obstacles are put in place (planters, sharp curves).  Drivers will not obey rules; they will only respect what they can't drive over.

Rules can be effective if they're enforced. If there's a good chance that one will be caught, and fined, it changes behavior. Unfortunately, the city does not enforce the laws.

I do agree with you though that paint is not infrastructure. While it does happen on occasion, it's rare to see a vehicle illegally parked in a physically separated bike lane. We certainly do need more of them. They're coming, but very slowly.

Traffic laws are not well enforced because they are not popular.  Ref. the restrictions on the use of speed and red light cameras.

Popular with who? People who get caught, maybe not. But that's the case with every law on the books.

Traffic laws are not enforced because CPD no longer has the staffing to do so. This started with shifting some of their traffic management duties to the TMA staff we now see, and then extended to squad cars.

The cameras are an example of the City trying to automate this function as a cost-cutting measure. They bungled the implementation of the cameras re: the corruption, the clear decision to time the infractions to increase revenue (the so-called "short yellow"), and so on, but the cameras don't lie. If people don't want tickets, all they have to do is not run lights or speed. Last I checked a speedometer is standard issue on every vehicle licensed in IL, there really is no excuse. If you get a ticket, you pay it, and you'll be more careful the next time you're tempted to gun it as a light is turning from yellow to red, not to mention making a complete stop at a red before turning right, motorist behavior that is particularly offensive to pedestrians crossing like they are supposed to.

Most Americans, even most Chicagoans, are drivers.  And most drivers violate the rules of the road.  If the rules are enforced too well, someone will be voted out of office.  This is why resources for enforcement are lacking.

If you think I am in favor of this behavior, you misunderstand me.  I am lamenting it.

Change that from most drivers to most people violate the rules of the roads and you'll be more accurate.  Cyclists routine run stop signs/reds, ride the wrong way down streets, use sidewalks, etc.  Pedestrians jaywalk all the time, cross streets regardless of the signal, etc.  

I don't know how old you are, but this is not what happened here. Traffic laws were enforced in the first half of Richard M. Daley's reign, then the City ran out of money, and the enforcement slowed down. The only complaints I recall were from cops, as they saw the shift to TMAs as a way to undermine the union (which was probably true).

I don't think it's any more complicated than that, unless we're thinking getting a red light ticket is somehow substantially different than getting one from a flesh and blood cop. If anything, I'd say most drivers would rather not have their license taken away and/or have to deal with a cop giving them the 3rd degree. "Do you know why I pulled you over?" is possibly the most loaded question in the history of civilization.

All that said, yep, most people drive. Last I checked I think even in Chicago, upwards of 60% of people are single-car commuting.

My position is the problem lies with the pitiful and inadequate way we renew drivers licenses without so much as a basic field test, much less instruction and/or a written test that would get older drivers up to speed on sharing the road with cyclists, stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, etc. But I'd also wager that this is due not to anyone's subjective preferences so much as a reluctance to pay the expense that would entail. As always, "follow the money" is a pretty sound approach to analyze any system involving people.

The city of Chicago has never had very significant traffic law enforcement



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