Fatality tracker: Young woman killed by person driving on suspended license


Photo of shops on Cottage Grove Avenue near 87th Street by Thornton29. 

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 7 (6 have been from hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 3
Transit: 5

Caprice Cunningham, a 23-year-old mother of three children, was killed while riding her bike near the intersection of 87th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in the Chatham neighborhood. Cottage Grove has two lanes in each direction, while 87th Street has a single lane in each direction. The collision happened on Thursday, July 12, 2012. “Cunningham was riding her bike east on 87th Street when she hit the front driver’s side door of a 1964 Ford truck that was northbound on Cottage Grove Avenue, [Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John] Mirabelli said.”

The family is looking for more information about how the crash occurred. From the Chicago Tribune:

While Mirabelli said that a witness provided details to police, the family said they want more witnesses to come forward.

She said she believes the busy intersection has surveillance cameras and they want police to share details of the accident with them.

“We want somebody to come foreword, we want witnesses to come forward, 87th and Cottage, that”s a busy street,” said Michelle Cunningham [relation wasn’t given].

The intersection sees about 40,000 automobiles pass through each day, according to counts conducted by the City in 2006. The intersection is outside any future, potential speed camera zone. Crash data from the Illinois Department of Transportation shows 19 pedestrian-automobile collisions and 1 bicycle-automobile collision at this intersection from 2005-2010 (all “possible injury” or greater, but no fatalities). Including all crash types, there were 307 in the same time period, with no fatalities.

The Chicago Tribune also reported the driver’s history on the road (bottom line, this person, who the police nor the newspaper haven’t identified, wasn’t allowed to be driving):

According to Illinois Secretary of State’s records, the driver [a 29-year-old woman] has a troubled driving history dating back to 2001 when she was ticketed for backing up in an area where this was not allowed.

In 2009 and again in 2010 she was ticketed for speeding. Her license was suspended in 2010 after being convicted for not having injurance and suspended again last year after she failed to get high-risk insurance as required, according to records.

The driver was cited for the following infractions:

  • Driving while license suspended or revoked
  • operating a vehicle without insurance
  • Violating restrictions on her driver’s license [the Chicago Tribune article didn’t specify what these restrictions were]
  • Driving an unsafe vehicle [the Chicago Tribune article didn’t specify what was unsafe about the vehicle]

This Google Street View image is looking east along 87th Street at the intersection with Cottage Grove Avenue, where the bicyclist collided with a northbound ice cream truck. View larger.

The Chicago Sun-Times also reported on this story. Visit Cunningham’s page on Every Bicyclist Counts.

* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time and includes only people who died in the Chicago city limits. View previous Fatality Tracker posts.

South Siders check out the draft Streets for Cycling Plan


Checking out information about the “Four Star Bike Routes” concept at the meeting. All photos in this post courtesy of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Last Thursday’s Streets for Cycling public meeting was the second of several opportunities for input on the recently revealed draft of the Citywide 2020 Network.  The meeting alternated open sessions for reviewing various aspects of the network plan and talking to planners with presentation/Q&A sessions.

It was my first time inside the Gary Comer Youth Center, a very distinctive piece of modern architecture.  The meeting was held in a third floor meeting room, adjacent to a beautiful roof garden surrounded by glass-walled interior space.  We had a great view of the enormous community garden across the street.

Continue reading South Siders check out the draft Streets for Cycling Plan

Bike and proud: Red Bike and Green promotes cycling to African Americans


Last Saturday’s kickoff ride – photo by Daris Jasper

[This piece appeared in print in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings.]

All Chicagoans should have a chance to reap the benefits of urban biking: cheap, convenient transportation, improved physical and mental health, and good times with friends and family. The proliferation of nonprofit bicycle shops and youth education programs, along with the rising popularity of fixies among inner-city teens, is starting to broaden the demographics of cycling here. But the local bike scene still doesn’t reflect our city’s ethnic and economic diversity. Eboni Senai Hawkins, 34, wants to change that. She recently launched the Chicago chapter of Red Bike and Green, a nationwide group that promotes bicycling in the black community.

Continue reading Bike and proud: Red Bike and Green promotes cycling to African Americans

Last week’s South Side Streets for Cycling meeting


Peter Taylor points out a route on the Southeast Side

Last Wednesday I put my bicycle on the Red Line, rode down to 95th Street and pedaled over to the Woodson Library, 9525 S. Halsted in Longwood Manor, for the second of three public meetings for the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020. Read Steven’s recap of the previous week’s session at the Garfield Park Conservatory here.

The last meeting of the series takes place this evening from 6-8 pm at the Sulzer Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Lincoln Square. If you can’t make it, there are also webinars you can attend online on Friday and Monday from noon to 1 pm.

Continue reading Last week’s South Side Streets for Cycling meeting

Bicycling in Chicago, a view from the south side – part 2


People bike during the Perimeter Ride on Doty Avenue, near 103rd Street and Stony Island Avenue. These street conditions are described below in “Bridging the gaps”. Photo by Eric Rogers. 

In Part 1, I examined some of the challenges for cyclists on the south side. It is estimated that approximately 60% of potential cyclists don’t feel safe on city streets, so they ride mostly on very quiet neighborhood streets, or use cars to transport their bikes to paths miles from where they live – if they ride at all. Let’s take a look at who’s riding now and what can be done to get more of Chicago rolling.

Who’s riding now?

Within bike friendly neighborhood areas such as Beverly and Morgan Park, I see a wide range of people riding: children (with and without their parents), teens, senior citizens, and adults of all ages.  Between neighborhoods, where street conditions are usually more challenging, the riders I see are mostly male and relatively fearless.  I don’t have much female company when I’m riding streets like Vincennes Avenue, Torrence Avenue, or 103rd Street. Continue reading Bicycling in Chicago, a view from the south side – part 2

Bicycling in Chicago, a view from the south side – part 1


Bicycling on 76th Street, a recommended bike route under the Skyway and several railroad viaducts, and some of the poor conditions described below. Photo by Eric Rogers. 

Editor’s note: Anne Alt writes about cycling on the south side of Chicago, in two parts. -SV

Five years ago, I moved from Rogers Park to Beverly when my husband and I bought a house. I’d spent a fair amount of time riding on the south side, but didn’t fully appreciate how much more difficult it would be to ride to other south side destinations until I started doing it from here on a regular basis.

What’s different about riding on the south side? Continue reading Bicycling in Chicago, a view from the south side – part 1