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The Mechanics
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Transportation Wed Aug 14 2013

City Tries to Improve Bicyclist Safety

In recent years the City of Chicago has been trying to improve bicycle safety. Various initiatives have been put into place in 2013 to encourage safer bicycling.

In 2013, the City sent out more than one million "Tips for Motorists" in the mailings for city stickers, said Charlie Short, Bike Safety and Education Manager for the Chicago Department of Transportation. The tips, among other things, inform motorists on how to avoid dooring bicyclists when parked.

CDOT has also been working on continuing to create 100 miles of protected bike lanes.

"We are in great support of 100 miles of protected bike lanes," said Ethan Spotts, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Active Transportation Alliance.

According to Spotts, protected bike lanes are proven to protect everyone on the streets. In June, another stretch of protected bike lane was opened on Milwaukee Avenue between Kinzie and Elston. Active Transportation Alliance helped create a safety guide that goes to every person with a membership for Divvy, the bike sharing program in Chicago.

The city is also issuing tickets to both bicyclists and drivers to improve safety.

"We certainly issue tickets for cyclists in the city of Chicago," said Short. "The number one ticket issued is for riding on the sidewalk."

Short said over 1,000 tickets were issued last year. CDOT is also working to better improve documentation of bicyclist-pedestrian collisions.

"We're working with the police to track those incidents and work on a way to best document the cases," said Short.

CDOT also offers a bike map for Chicago and tips for cyclists available at every bike shop. Short said that as cycling increases, CDOT is trying to increase information.

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Quesstion / August 15, 2013 5:50 PM

As both a driver and a biker, I would put a little more of the onus on the bikers. The complete disregard of all traffic laws is common.

Dennis Fritz / August 17, 2013 9:35 AM

I agree with the comment. Rampant disregard of traffic laws by bikers is a huge part of problem, a part that too many biking enthusiasts make light of. I don't own a car. I am a pedestrian. Over the years, I have had far more near-misses with bikers than with drivers. When I have mentioned this to avid bikers, they almost invariably say, "Well, at least if getting hit by a bike probably won't kill you." Really? How about not hitting me at all, geniuses? This flippant attitude towards public safety by bikers needs to change...

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