CHICAGO BICYCLISTS To Face More Stingent Enforcement of Bike Safety Laws!

Real Estate Agent with Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL

Hey, AR readers!

It's common sense - at least, something you were taught very early - to stop for a red light.  To not go the wrong way down a one way street.  To signal your turns.  Right?

Apparently, however, many let these rules go out the window while cycling.  Further, many riding their bikes feel there is nothing wrong with that!

That kind of attitude could cost you here in Chicago, however, as Chicago Police Department plan to toughen enforcement of traffic rules for cyclists here.  Violations could bring a $25 fine.

Just another ploy for "The City That Works" to generate more revenue?  Not really!  So far in 2008, four bicyclists have been killed in motor vehicle accidents on the North Side of Chicago.

The common-sense bike laws - not running a red light or stop sign, not riding on the sidewalk, riding the right way down a one-way street, weaving across traffic lanes - are routinely ignored here.  Other rules - such as hand signaling turns, or maintaining a headlamp and reflectors for night cycling - are not always followed.

The lax enforcement will soon end, however.  According to Chicago Police Spokesperson Monique Bond, "We're going to be enforcing the same traffic laws for bikes as well as motorists, so that both respect each other and the rules of the road as far as bike safety and motor safety."

Last week, Chicago Police Sgt. Mark Silva pulled over a cyclist in the Lakeview Neighborhood on the North Side who failed to stop at a red light before making a right turn at the six-way intersection of Clark and Halsted Street, and Barry Avenue.  The bewildered cyclist asked if he was breaking the law.  "It is a cit able offense, absolutely," Silva told him. "But we're not out here to punish people, we're out here to change habits."

Silva and Bicycle Patrol Officers Lisa Taras and Kelvin Chow said they rarely write tickets for cyclists who run stop signs or go the wrong way on one-way streets. But Silva emphasized that cyclists do need to at least be warned about dangerous behavior, to prevent serious accidents.

"Most people we talk to say that rolling through a stop sign or a light is not that important compared to other things going on," Silva said. "But people can die."  Proving his point, one cyclist who ran a red light narrowly missed being struck by a car as police officers watched from a block away.

Last Thursday, Chicago Police riding bikes pulled aside roughly 30 cyclists, nearly one-fifth for riding through the intersection without stopping at the red light.

Some question the priority of enforcing Bicycle Safety in Chicago, feeling most bike accidents here are caused by careless motorists rather than those riding a bicycle.  Flagrant traffic violations by many cyclists suggest those on the bikes can contribute to an accident just as easily as those behind the wheel of motor vehicle.

So be warned - continuing to violate Bicycle Riding Rules of the Road here in Chicago could lighten your wallet, and be dangerous!

See our post yesterday via BlogChicagoHomes.comfor more, as well as links to the story and included video by Robert Mitchum in yesterday's Chicago Tribune.  For the City of Chicago Website highlighting Chicago Bicycle Traffic Safety Laws, as well as a City Bike Map, click here.



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Claudia Efthimos
Signature Homes & Estates - Morgan Hill, CA

Interesting Dean:

 While I agree with you, as I have seen many cyclist here in California, do the very same thing. Have you heard about San Francisco's "Critical Mass"? I guess being "Progressive as California likes to be there has actually been talk about just the opposite. They are actually discussing loosening the laws so Cyclist CAN go through Red lights. When It Is Safe of course. They were talking about the momentum they loose at each stop & the amount of energy expended to start each time or some such nonsense. But of course when there is an accident, the Motorist is always blamed.

Aug 22, 2008 10:38 PM #1
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Dean, it's important you bring this up, because those of us who ride bikes need to be aware of the safety rules involved while operating them.

Aug 23, 2008 03:01 AM #2
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi Dean, I ride quite often in the summer...wished my seat was big enough to match my seat!  Anyway, it is very surprising how many cyclists think cars can just stop on a dime. 

We have, I am sure, the same laws regarding roadway use.  One issue that is very difficult and dangerous is not having the roam to co-exist on the roadway.  You can not use the you are forced into the roadway...if there are not designated cyclist lanes this can hamper traffic and cause a real safety issue for the cyclist and the drivers.  Some cyclists feel the middle of the road is the safest place and let traffic work around them while other hug the edge of the road or street.

I agree the rules have to be followed and I think we also have to do a bit of driver education to cut the peddlers some slack if they are following the rules.  Nice update Dean.

Aug 24, 2008 01:00 AM #3

I have to politely disagree with you, in that I do think it is about revenue.  The city is has a dramatic budget problem, and they have already taxed us so highly  that they need to look to more fines.

  Daley wants one in ten intersections to have a red light camera.  He also wants cars to be booted for having only  two unpaid tickets.  It's all about revenue.


Yours is quickly becoming one of my regularly read blogs, Dean.  Thanks!

Aug 25, 2008 01:40 PM #4
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

I bought my first "racing bike," a 10-speed, when I was a freshman at Texas A&M University. There's a really nice, long hill between College Station and Bryan where one could easily get up to 35 miles an hour, which was the speed limit. Unfortunately, at the bottom of the hill was a four-way intersection, but since you could see the intersection from a mile away, we young whipper-snappers would usually just blast on through that intersection at 35 mph on our bikes. That was my first traffic ticket, running a stop sign on my bike. The police officer pulled up at the stop sign just as I went blasting through. I was the coolest guy in town that weekend. LOL

Aug 25, 2008 02:29 PM #5
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