An update on cyclist Justin Carver, critically injured by a left-turning driver

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Google Streetview of the crash site, 26th and East in Berwyn, from the driver’s perspective.

Click here to donate to a fund that will help cover Justin’s medical expenses.

Steven and I don’t normally devote full posts to non-fatal bicycle crashes, but the case of Justin Carver, a friend of a friend of mine, really hit home with me and has also struck a chord with the local bike community. Because of a careless move by a driver, Justin is currently in the intensive care unit, fighting for his life with a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones.

According to Justin’s wife Kim MacGregor Carver, Justin bicycled from their home in Oak Park to his job at the Stickney-Forest View Public Library several times a week. On Monday, December 3, around 5:15 pm, he was riding north on East Avenue in Berwyn, a residential street. When he came to the intersection of 26th Street, the driver of a southbound Chevrolet Suburban SUV made a left turn onto 26th and failed to yield to the cyclist, striking the left side of his body.

Justin, who was wearing a helmet, sustained severe head injuries. Although there were no skull fractures, there was trauma to the front of his brain and bleeding on the brain, and he received lacerations to his forehead. He also suffered compound fractures to his left tibia and fibia, a broken clavicle and scapula on his left side, and a broken finger in his left hand. “I have to imagine the helmet lessened the impact,” Kim told me on the phone yesterday afternoon, speaking from Justin’s hospital room. “I believe that if he didn’t have his helmet on it could have been over instantly.”

Continue reading An update on cyclist Justin Carver, critically injured by a left-turning driver

Updated ClearStreets, alternative to Plow Tracker, brings new features and mobile-friendly design


ClearStreets’s new look. 

Last January I told you about ClearStreets, an alternative to the City of Chicago’s Plow Tracker website. The main difference is that Plow Tracker shows the current location of snow plows while ClearStreets tracks where they’ve been. Both sites have been updated today in time for our first winter storm, but since the world is ending tonight, you better look at them quickly.


Photo of mobile-friendly Plow Tracker by Dan O’Neil.

Plow Tracker has been updated to better display on mobile devices, at a different URL: If you load it on a desktop browser, it doesn’t appear correctly.

During my conversation with lead creator of ClearStreets, Derek Eder, I told him that I believe there’s a weak relationship with the focus of Grid Chicago – sustainable transportation. The updates don’t change that, but we had a good discussion about the future of ClearStreets, and the implications and potential it has, as a platform, for other ideas and apps where that relationship could improve. Also, I’ve been exploring technology and transportation with this blog for some time as I’m a programmer myself. Continue reading Updated ClearStreets, alternative to Plow Tracker, brings new features and mobile-friendly design

Dearborn Street’s celebrity status skyrockets


Active Transportation Alliance posted a 1:50 video showing before and after conditions

The Dearborn Street two-way protected bike lane looks to be the biggest deal, nationally, in bicycle infrastructure since the City of Chicago built the Kinzie Street cycle track three weeks after Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office. If it had an account on Twitter, it’d be competing with Justin Bieber.

Here’s a collection of “chatter” about the project from within the short 90 hours it’s been open.

“More than just bike benefits”


The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) produced their own 1:50 video interviewing Chicago transportation commissioner Gabe Klein about the economic benefits of building bicycle infrastructure and showing scenes from the press conference and of people bicycling in the Dearborn Street bike lane.

“Back to the Future moment”

Architecture “observer” Lynn Becker reviewed how this new piece of infrastructure fits into the history and culture of Chicago, then and now. The following are unconnected excerpts.

On Friday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein dedicated the city’s most ambitious commitment yet to the ideal of taking biking beyond the recreational to make it an integral part of Chicago’s transportation system.

It was a Back to the Future moment, as Chicago rose the crest of the first major bike boom back in the 1890’s, when the introduction of the affordable safety bicycle set sales soaring.  It also created a new industry, with Chicago at its center.

The Trib’s John Kass, as part of his ongoing battle against the 21st Century, rails against “elitist politically coddled bicyclists” by indulging his usual habit of seeing everything in Chicago he doesn’t like as a Rahm Emanuel plot, raising spectres of traffic tickets and tolls for bikers.

It’s like having to learn a new language, relearning how we “read” the city as we move through it.  No doubt about it, it’s a bold initiative, and a real gamble.  It not only serves a constituency, but aims to shape behaviour.

Read on for Becker’s full commentary and a video of Klein and Emanuel’s speeches. Continue reading Dearborn Street’s celebrity status skyrockets

Fatality Tracker: Man died after jumping in front of Metra train in Rogers Park


Metra’s Rogers Park train station. Photo by Jeff Zoline.

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 28 (13 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 7 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 10
Skateboard: 1 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)

A 46-year-old unnamed man from Beach Park jumped in front of a UP-North Metra train at the Rogers Park station and died on Wednesday, December 12. The train was not scheduled to stop. The Chicago Tribune has more information about the incident as well as a story about how Metra apologized for the resulting delays.

* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time. View previous Fatality Tracker posts; see a data table listing all who’ve died.

Fatality Tracker: Man dies in Chinatown while cycling on Archer Avenue

View 2400 S Archer Avenue in a larger map

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 28 (13 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 7 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 9
Skateboard: 1 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)

The details of Yuan Zeng’s crash on Thursday, December 13, at 10 AM, are odd and confusing, as some commenters on The Chainlink pointed out. He was 68 years old and died on Friday, December 14, in Stroger Hospital. The Chicago Tribune wrote:

According to preliminary reports, Zeng struck the passenger side of a vehicle shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday near Archer Avenue and 24th Street. The impact of the collision forced him onto the windshield and into the road, police said.

A commenter on The Chainlink said:

When I read that short “blurb” I thought how interesting it is how often pedestrians walk right into the middle of the sides of cars and cyclists ride right into the middle of the sides of cars. (link)

When I lived in Bridgeport a few years ago I would sometimes ride on Archer Avenue to work in the Loop. It was often a harrowing experience because the wide road (2 lanes in each direction + 1 conventional bike lane in each direction) combined with low traffic volumes meant people drove their cars very fast. Couple that with poor quality pavement and poor drainage, the road is not designed for safe bicycling. The curves at this part of Archer Avenue saw people driving cars and buses in the bike lane.

* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time. View previous Fatality Tracker posts; see a data table listing all who’ve died. The Illinois Safety Data Mart is currently reporting 30 pedestrian fatalities. There were 7 pedalcyclist fatalities in 2011, as well.

Highlights from December’s Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting


Bicycle signals on Dearborn Street at Madison Street were turned on as of Wednesday. Photo by Kevin Zolkiewicz. 

Meeting minutes for the September 2012 can be downloaded (.pdf); read our recap of it.

Streets for Cycling Plan 2020

Download now (.pdf).

A few months late, the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 will be released today, including a Bicycle Facilities Guide designed for all Chicagoans that shows the new facility types being installed on Chicago roadways and how to use them (no matter your transportation mode).

Bike sharing

The current focus is on finalizing the contract with Alta Bicycle Share. Chicago Bicycle Program coordinator Ben Gomberg said they would finish selecting the sites for bike sharing stations in January or February. Gomberg mentioned that Alderman Pawar is using menu funds to purchase 5 stations for the 47th Ward; Bill Higgins, a transportation planner in Pawar’s office, said that the “shortening” of the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) 11-Lincoln bus route (eliminating it from a 3 mile stretch between Western/Lawrence and Fullerton Avenues) was a basis for buying the stations. Alderman Moreno is also using menu funds to purchase 2 stations for the 1st Ward. DePaul University, Gomberg said, was interested in purchasing 3 stations.

No mention was made of the investigation by the Chicago Inspector General. Jane Healy, an activist from Blue Island, Illinois, and a board member for Active Transportation Alliance, asked if there was a timeline. Luann Hamilton, Deputy Commissioner of Project Development at the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), replied that there wasn’t one.

The cost of purchasing an additional station (there will be 300 purchased by the City in the first year an additional 100 kiosks in the following year) is $56,000, which includes 19 docks and 15 bicycles; there’s a discount if you buy more than one. CDOT will not be charging an operating fee to those entities who purchase kiosks, a policy in place at the Washington, D.C.-centered Capital Bikeshare program.

CDOT is looking for an organization to sponsor the bike sharing program. Citibank paid $41 million for the naming rights in New York City: “Citibike”.  Continue reading Highlights from December’s Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting