The Chainlink

There appears to be no poll functionality here, but I'm curious. Given probably limited resources to throw and bike issues, how do you think the Chicago Police Department should prioritize bike-related traffic "situations"? I'll throw out a few possibilities that come to mind.

  • Cyclists who run red lights
  • Cyclists who fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs
  • Drivers who make turns without signaling
  • Drivers who double-park in bike lanes
  • Cyclists who speed on LFT
  • Drivers who speed a little bit (say, 32 in a 30 zone)
  • Drivers who fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs

This is front-and-center in my mind because there were all sorts of warnings during the North Shore Century yesterday that the police in Fort Sheridan and Highland Park were ticketing riders for failure to stop at stop signs and riding three or more abreast. I'm sure they were mostly responding to resident complaints, but I couldn't help but feel they were being a bit opportunistic. Fines were reported to be between $120 and $150 per infraction. That's $450 in the old coffers for riding three abreast!

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Something else that's interesting (to me at least):

9-52-020 Riding bicycles on sidewalks and certain roadways.
(a) No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district unless such sidewalk has been officially designated and marked as a bicycle route, or such sidewalk is used to enter the nearest roadway, intersection or designated bicycle path, or to access a bicycle share station.

So let's say you're riding from your front door to the street or to/from the Divvy station in the middle of the block, you can ride on the sidewalk.

I'd put one above this list: drivers who run red lights.  This problem is way out of control in the Loop and many other places where there are no red light cameras.  Regarding cyclists speeding on LFT, my take on it would be "riding too fast for conditions."  In other words, if it's crowded and there's chaotic traffic, SLOW is the name of the game. If there's hardly anyone out there, faster speeds can be fine.

The amount of violent crime is a big factor in lack of traffic enforcement.

igz said:

  • if you want an opinion on priority, i guess i see it as this:

  • Drivers who make turns without signaling (and cyclists)
  • Cyclists who run red lights (could use revision)
  • Drivers who double-park in bike lanes (no different than double parking in non-bike lane)
  • Cyclists who speed on LFT (moreso, riding recklessly)(is there even a speed limit?)

Police in some northern suburbs have increased their aggressiveness in ticketing cyclists, even in situations that did not endanger anyone.  They started ticketing in Lake Forest and Highland Park during NSC (and in certain locations at other times) years ago, but it sounds like it's on the increase there. Folks I know have been ticketed in Park Ridge as well. In Lake Bluff they'll ticket you if you ride on Sheridan instead of the adjacent McClory Path. But that's not Chicago.

ad said:

Whatever a person's position on Idaho stops or riding three abreast might be, most people--and luckily most law enforcement officers on group rides similar to the NSC that I've been on--would agree that requiring each and every cyclist to stop at a stop sign during or ride only two riders side-by-side on a ride like NSC is unrealistic and potentially dangerous.  It is not asking too much for an area's law enforcement to recognize such distinctions and exercise discretion in enforcement without re-writing laws, and it's more than justified to get upset and ask questions when they do fail to recognize such distinctions.    

My top three laws for CPD enforcement:

  1. Drivers on the phone or using handhelds (sting operations and cameras at intersections needed to get this message home)
  2. Drivers over the speed limit (speed cameras are good for cyclists (ask any British cyclist)
  3. Drivers running red lights (red light cameras are good for cyclists, too)


Is it running a red light to stop at the light, check for traffic, and then proceed? If I had to wait for every light to turn green my commuting times would increase by 10%.

Bikes on the sidewalks, especially in crowded areas, should be fairly easy to enforce, even if only to issue a warning.  Most of them seem to be relatively slow-moving and apparently terrified of riding legally in the street.  For example, there were 2 people on Divvys riding down Michigan Ave. at lunch time today.  Of course they were moving only barely faster than the pedestrians, due to congestion and red lights (though they tried to go faster by constantly ringing their bells, even while weaving through narrow passages under scaffolding).

Sorry for the sidetrack but I'm fairly certain that I saw someone riding a bike like in your pic west bound on Rt 66 (Side road to I 40) in Arizona. Pretty hard core whomever that was.

jolondon30 said:

Is it running a red light to stop at the light, check for traffic, and then proceed? If I had to wait for every light to turn green my commuting times would increase by 10%.

I have been commuting to and from work since May and what I have observed is the following:

a. cyclists in general refuse to stop at red lights, quite a few cyclists have run the red light that i have stopped at.  sending a bad message to me and the drivers who have stopped at the light

b. cyclists refuse to slow down when approaching stop signs

c. cyclists generally pass other cyclist without announcing they are passing on the left 

d. few cyclists use head lights and tail lights

would enforcing the laws do any good?  i doubt it.  

Rick, there is no law to pass a cyclist without announcing it.. I do it out of courtesy to a select few. 

yes, that is true but it is bicycling etiquette and in my opinion it shouldn't be to a select few. 

Not tell me to stay to the right when he's standing 2 ft from his police vehicle in the way of me staying to the right. 

I think the police should start obeying the laws themselves and make an example. Let asshats honk at them for not running the lights before/after they are allowed. 

If the pigs stop running signs and lights, parking illegally in non-emergencies, driving like dickheads, and yelling at us for no reason and threatening us, then maybe things will change.

They need to lead by example, but right now everyone does the same thing the police do. I find it difficult thinking they will enforce rules they ignore constantly.


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