CDOT responds to open letter about police enforcement; still waiting for replies from mayor, police


Citations issued for blocking the bike lane vary from year to year. This FedEx truck blocks the Kinzie Street protected bike lane, the city’s first. 

In the open letter that Anne Alt and I wrote and mailed in early April to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, transportation commissioner Gabe Klein (CDOT), and police superintendent Garry McCarthy, we only received a reply from Klein. We don’t expect a response from the Mayor’s Office or the Chicago Police Department.

The letter has been pasted below.

The response from CDOT pointed out an inaccuracy in our letter’s data about the number of citations issued to motorists for parking in marked bikeways (bike lanes and marked shared lanes). The data, from the Department of Administrative Hearings, substantially undercounted the number of citations issued. The issue with this data is that it came from the wrong source and the numbers from that department likely represented contested citations.

Since receiving this letter, Grid Chicago has obtained new data, from the Department of Finance (known to most as the Department of Revenue). The number of citations issued for violating Municipal Code of Chicago 9-40-060, are as follows (rates in parentheses):

Parking bike lane statistics

  • 2005: 920 (2.52 per day)
  • 2006: 577 (1.58)
  • 2007: 676 (1.85)
  • 2008: 1,021 (2.78)
  • 2009: 985 (2.70)
  • 2010: 864 (2.37)
  • 2011: 1,172 (3.21)
  • 2012: 614 (until April 30, 2012, 5.07 per day)

We regret the error.

Response letter from CDOT

Re: Enforcement and Education around Chicago’s Bicycle Facilities
Dear Mr. Vance and Ms. Alt:

Thank you for your support and interest in the City of Chicago’s bicycling initiatives. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is committed to encouraging cycling and developing new bicycle facilities, and keeping cyclists safe.

Since 2009, CDOT has partnered with the Chicago Police Department and 18 Aldermanic offices to address behaviors that endanger bicyclists. This program, know as “Share the Road,” (STR) ( pairs the City of Chicago’s Bicycling Ambassadors with uniformed Chicago police officers, stopping cyclists and motorists who break the law and offering education in lieu of a ticket. In 2011, CDOT conducted 62 STR events, directly reaching 13,000 people. Motorist behaviors that are targeted include: passing cyclists closer than 3 feet, dooring, and parking and driving in the bike lane. Cyclist behaviors that are targeted include: riding on the sidewalk, disobeying traffic controls and signals, riding at night without a headlight and riding the wrong way. The bike light giveaways are consistently our most successful events: the Bicycling Ambassadors gave out 1,650 lights in 2011, and plan to give away more than 2,000 starting in June of 2012.

With regard to ticketing motorists who park in the bike lane, between 2008 and 2011 the Department of Revenue (DOR) issued 3,968 tickets for this infraction. Each year, staff from the Bike Safety and Education team train DOR officials and workers on issues related to vehicles parking in bike lanes. This is scheduled to continue in 2012.

Keeping police officers aware of bike safety is also very important. CDOT staff conducted roll call STR orientations for police officers in 6 districts in 2011, and plan on expanding to all police districts this summer, pending police availability. I recently met with Police Superintendent McCarthy to discuss the importance of traffic safety in the City of Chicago. Discussion of traffic safety will play a large role in these orientations, which I plan to attend, along with our Education and Safety team. Finally, in 2008, CDOT staff created a safe cycling training video ( for the Chicago Police Department, which has since been viewed by every sworn officer at least twice a year.

In addition, all registered taxi drivers in the City of Chicago are trained about sharing the road using CDOT curriculum in conjunction with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. As part of the Chicago Pedestrian Safety Campaign, every taxi cab registered in the City of Chicago was given a bumper sticker that gives instructions on how to report dangerous taxi operation to 311.

In 2012, we will be including bicycling safety information in city mailers. This will mirror CDOT’s partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office, which offers our Safe Cycling and Tips for Motorists publications in their downtown Chicago locations.

Thank you once again for your interest and support of the City of Chicago’s bicycling initiatives.


Gabe Klein

Originated by:

Luann Hamilton
Deputy Commissioner
Division of Project Development


10 thoughts on “CDOT responds to open letter about police enforcement; still waiting for replies from mayor, police”

  1. I think it’s time for the state to start mandating that bicycle safety be taught in all drivers ed classes. The best way to reform drivers is education.

    1.  Agree 100%.  I’m also glad to see a major uptick in moving violations issued, as prior years’ counts are woefully inadequate and unacceptable.

      That said, I see more than 5 violations on any given ride from the South Loop to Avondale (and v.v.), enforcement could definitely be stepped up just in terms of the blatant violations involving double-parked delivery vehicles/people just “running in to shop”.

  2. I found it funny this orning that as I left the bikes belong event by the Kinzie Lane these was a taxi parked in the bike lane right next to the event.

  3. Cry baby cry baby cry baby. Boo hoo. Someone parked on MY lane. That lane was built for ME!! You self righteous ass. Get over it. Trucks double park all over the city. Do you hear drivers complaining and bombarding city officials with requests as to how many citations are issued. Tell me why you think YOUR bike lanes should somehow receive preferrential treatment when it comes to citations. God, wonders never cease.
    Do you go home and cry to your mommy- ” a FedEx truck was parked in MY bike lane. Mommy,
    What will you do? Call mr gabe and ask him to fix it. Boo hoo mommy. ”
    God, use your energy to actually make this country prosperous.

    1. Bmbcgo-chat:
      Maybe you should see the lane blockage in this light: The lanes were built so that bitchy motorists could move along faster and avoid us horrible cry-baby cyclists as well as keep cyclists safe from the whiny motorists who have to speed to where they are going. When a car or truck blocks the lane, it causes all the cry-baby motorists to start whining that a slow moving bicycle is in their lane as well as endangers the whining bicyclist. I believe you should take your extremely biased comment and go cry to your mommy that the bicyclists are whining again, just like you are whining about them.  And instead of wasting your time posting your nonconstructive comment, you could be using your time to make this country prosperous as well. 

    2. I’ve never seen a Chicago driver park & leave the vehicle while blocking all auto lanes on a street.  Maybe Bmbcgo-chat is unfamiliar with Chicago street design: we generally have more than one auto lane on most streets.  The driver would have to turn perpendicular to the street to block all of them as most of our streets have three or more auto lanes.

      However, autos routinely park & block all cycle lanes.  There’s usually only one bicycle lane which is only four feet wide.  
      Thank you to Grid Chicago, CDOT, & Gabe Klein for improving our city transportation infrastructure & holding drivers accountable to safely operate their vehicles.  It’s not MY lane it’s OUR lane.

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