Does Chicago want to be a bike friendly city or what? (video)


A depiction of what wouldn’t have happened. Photo by flickrknufflo. 

Share the road? What a terrible idea.

The Netherlands is the safest place to travel, on any mode, because they’ve a road design philosophy called “sustainable safety”. One of the principles is to homogenize modes by mass, speed, and direction:

Large differences in speed and mass of different road users in the same space must be eliminated as much as possible. Where speed differences cannot be eliminated types of traffic must be separated. [Read about the four other principles.]

In Chicago and most places in the United States, the philosophy is “share the road” and “good luck”.

I was almost creamed today on my way home from a leisure night of visiting the Comrade Cycles grand opening (with Roots Pizza, Bleeding Heart Bakery goodies, and Do-Rite Donuts) and test riding a cycle truck at J.C. Lind Bike Co. with Brandon from Chicago Cargo (who will deliver your goods via bicycle). What stopped me from getting slammed? Well, an evasive maneuver away from the black Mercedes SUV and that the driver didn’t zoom their left turn into the McDonald’s drive through at 1951 N Western half a second sooner. It felt what I imagine having a mugger holding a gun to your back would feel like. But I can’t get away with it by giving up my smartphone.

And this happened on the night I didn’t have my camera rolling… This video I call “Driving Behaviors Volume 1” should make up for that.


Watch the video on Vimeo.

I want safer roads, not over 1,500 bike-automobile crashes each year or a 31.4% hit and run rate in 2010, for all traffic crashes. I want police enforcement and an end to retrofitting roads with car-centric designs.

Where do we start to make that happen?

5 thoughts on “Does Chicago want to be a bike friendly city or what? (video)”

  1. I’m glad that defensive riding spared you a trip to the ER and got you home in one piece.  

    I’m working on a letter to some of the powers that be about the need to start on better education and enforcement NOW. Care to collaborate?

      1. Yeah, I figured that was a silly question.  😉  Look for a draft in your email in the next few hours.

        Yowza, with one of those, they’d have to be blind NOT to see you.

        I’d eventually like to get some sort of cargo bike or city bike with a step through frame, but I also run into the size problem.  I’ve modified more than one bike with an extra long seatpost and different stem/handlebars.  I think your reach is a little longer than mine, which complicates things for you.  

        I’ve ridden European city bikes with extra large frames that were a beautiful fit.  Unfortunately, those solid steel frames are too heavy for me to lug on and off Metra trains.  

  2. How did you like that Civia Halsted? It is really the first cargo bike that I’ve ridden that has a footprint close to a regular bike, not counting the small wheel bikes of  the type that Alex Wilson has.
    I’m getting close to ordering one

    1. I liked it a lot. It’s small and I’m curious as to how it can be modified to fit my height. I think the price is good ($1125 out of the box) but I’d like to look into other cycle trucks, including Alex’s. 

      I think it’s sufficient to be an every day bike. 

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