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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201 S Franklin St. 311 report submitted.

I don't see the bike lane violation in this one

I feel your pain in many ways. Bike lanes are frustrating when they're not respected by motorists, when they're not cleared of snow and debris and when the street they're on is just too narrow (to list a few I've observed).

My personal opinion is that bike lanes are not necessary, as I believe that bikes are compatible with motor traffic. The problem with that is that everyone has to follow the rules, which never seems to happen. Installing bike lanes instead of improving the rule-compliance of both cyclists and motorists creates complications: educating cyclists and motorists about their (bike lanes) correct use, enforcement and maintenance. This may be a "six of one, half-dozen of another" issue. It seems to me that the most fundamental problem with the bike lane approach is the same as the (apparent) problems that led away from bikes-in-traffic: this is lack of enforcement.

As Ar69 has amply demonstrated, there is little-to-no enforcement of (at least) the rules that apply to parking in bike lanes. This has been my experience on the UIC campus as well, as my reports to the campus parking authorities have had virtually (literally) no effect. I've stopped reporting violations because I just don't have the time.

I think if the Chicago Police adopted a more aggressive enforcement policy towards *both* motorists and cyclists, we'd see a big improvement in bike lane efficiency as well as less need for bike lanes in the first place.

A guy can dream. I'm back on the streets tomorrow. Happy New Year!

For a regular and frequent cyclist, bike lanes may not offer a particular benefit.

However, from newbes, kids, and infrequent cyclists they are useful and they are attractive.  They may encourage cycling on the street.  Rack up enough miles cycling on bike lane will give experience riding on the street - and make many more comfortable riding on streets where there are no bike lanes.

I agree. I was not thinking about new riders transitioning to the street.

There's another role bike lanes may play: they might possibly entice a motorist or two to swap the car for a bike because of the constriction of the traffic lane (!). Or maybe cause the motorist to choose a different route.

Unfortunately, there are still motorists who begrudge us our rights on the road; that is a problem that only time and education (and enforcement, IMO) will solve.

It's complicated!

clp, it's a well known fact that you are just trolling to aggravate people, but I have to point out a few things in your last post that are incorrect:

1. Note everyone who bikes in Chicago grew up here.  There are many of us, including me, who have moved here from another city.

2. How do you know that there are no newbies trying to navigate the loop?  Many people would like to ride to work, and are trying it for the first time, in the loop.

We can do a much better job than we are currently doing in providing good bike infrastructure.  I was in DC last week and they have constructed a dedicated bike lane, separate from the sidewalk and from the street, as seen in cities like Paris, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen, right on Maine Avenue by the Wharf.  It's amazing and properly done.  Kudos to DC for finally building some truly dedicated infrastructure.

I was one of those newbies two years ago. I was taking the bus, and train, and decided to give the bike a try. At first I docked my Divvy at Merchandise Mart, as it was intimidating to ride in the Loop. The existence of marked bike lanes helped convince me to extend my trips all the way to work.

I hear you David. clp's assessment of DC is limited, not entirely accurate and an oversimplification of the issues.

The limo is standing in a shared bike lane. That is illegal. How many times do I have to post the city ordnance? It's illegal to stop or park in a shared bike lane. It also happens to be a bus stop. That's illegal, too.

Don't like the law? Feel free to contact your alderman and insist that they change it. Until then it's still illegal.


225 N Franklin St. 311 report submitted.

731 reports for the year. Happy f*cking New Year.

Thank you for hanging strong and posting in the thread. A lot has come out of this thread. I’ve been interviewed, Bike Lane Uprising did her research here before launching her very effective site, and photos from this thread have been used as examples in posts and media.

The best kind of advocacy isn’t sexy or fireworks, it’s banging the drum and getting others to bring their drum to bang with you. That is how we move the needle. It’s not perfect, far from it but we’ve made so much progress in awareness.

The Chainlink hit ten years in 2018 and in those ten years the landscape of cycling in Chicago has changed significantly. I miss those bike lanes because in DC it is sorely lacking in infrastructure. If you think they aren’t necessary, I encourage you to live in a place that doesn’t have enough of them. It is eye-opening. Btw, there is a lot more riding on sidewalks here because there isn’t another option. And the lanes just stop out of nowhere. I have to cut over past the White House (reason why I have a lot of WH selfies) because the lane just stops in the middle of downtown. No reason or logic, no route to continue on. 

So thanks for all the posts. They are always welcome on this thread and Bike Lane Uprising is doing a bang-up job of using the data on her site to get the attention of local government and businesses. I highly encourage joining and posting pics to BLU. Happy New Year!!

Thanks! There are days when I feel I'm banging the drum...with my head. Sadly, I don't see any change at this point, but I guess I'll have to be patient.

As a counter to your point, I biked in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver over the past two summers. Each city has extensive bike lanes, and large bike share systems. I think I may have encountered one illegally parked vehicle in the bike lanes. Here I run into one every two minutes spent in the lanes. It's ultimately about education and respect. Chicago is lacking in both.



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