Those F…ing Bikers!

Those F…ing Bikers!

Okay, so all you bikers out there who insist on biking to your office, weaving through an already busy city, hear me out. I have lived in the city for over thirty years all within two miles of downtown Chicago. It has become busier over the years as the West, East and South Loop areas have brought in more people who now surround the heart of this great city.

With this population growth comes more density which causes more congestion. The number of luxury rentals buildings built over the last five years is staggering, even with a stagnant real estate market over the past few years, the over building is taking a toll on the quality of life in Chicago.

Being able to bike to work is becoming more popular with the recently added bike paths along Dearborn, Wells, Ohio and Kinzie Streets, to name a few. There seems to be new bike paths being added every day and if our Mayor Rahm Emanuel has his way there will be over 100 miles of new bike paths added in the City of Chicago.

The problem I have with this is that the bike paths are being built on major streets, which transport cars down to the city and around town. It is already a mess with the buses, tourists and local pedestrians. Add in the bikers and you have a recipe for disaster! It is becoming a war zone on the Chicago streets and the war this time is not the gangs, but rather a war between the drivers and the bikers, which is escalating at a rapid pace.

It seems silly in some ways, yet there is real danger for people who get struck by a car or a car hitting a pedestrian or another car as they attempt to navigate around the bikers. Add in the tourists who have not a clue where they are and will not pull over and you will see an up tick in car accidents and deaths created by this congestion.

I was fine when Wells Street was the access street to downtown Chicago. I knew it was a biking street and mostly avoided it. But now with bike paths all over the place, I can’t avoid sharing a street with them. And, I tell you that they are a hostile bunch who feels they are entitled now to use the same street as I do in car.  Most just drive in the middle of the street which slows traffic.

What’s the answer to this ever increasing issue? Move the bike paths to designated streets, which are not heavily used by motor vehicles and limit the number of them. When I saw a biker get hit by a car door on Ohio Street, I felt bad for everyone involved. It just shouldn’t be this difficult to get around. Don’t we all already have enough stress in our lives?

I am truly not against bikers; I just wish they would stay out of my way and bike somewhere else!

What are your thoughts on this issue? Please don't run over me on your bike!

Comments

Leave a comment
  • 1) Cyclists feel entitled to use the same streets as you use in your car because THEY ABSOLUTELY ARE. It is not illegal for a cyclist to ride in the middle of a travel lane, even when there is a designated bike lane on the street. They do this primarily for their own safety - to avoid getting hit by those car doors you've noticed being opened in their path or by cars trying to squeeze by them in too narrow a space to the left (legally, you should be giving every cyclist you pass at least three feet of space). There is also the issue of bike lanes being constantly blocked by cabs picking up/letting off passengers, delivery trucks, and cars that, for whatever reason, can't or won't pull into the parking lane.

    2) The way that bike lanes are planned out takes great pains to not affect congestion. More about this in detail here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/bike-lanes-dont-cause-traffic-jams-if-youre-smart-about-where-you-build-them/. To give a local example - the Dearborn protected bike lane was built on Dearborn because it was a street that was operating far below capacity. While the placement of the lanes may seem haphazard to you, I assure you there are many planners and engineers looking at numbers and street conditions and carefully deciding where these should and can be placed.

    3) Car drivers should not be attempting to "navigate around bikers" if doing so is going to cause them to run into people. This seems obvious. Drivers of cars are not entitled to drive at 30mph and really shouldn't expect to in the central business district of a major city. This is dangerous and unforgivable behavior, frankly.

    4) There isn't a bike lane on Ohio Street.

  • fb_avatar

    This column is a joke, right?

  • In reply to Uptown Biker:

    Uptown Biker, this column is not a joke. Do you ever drive downtown?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Terri Lee Ryan:

    Sure I do. I drive on expressways and in the suburbs as well. Traffic sucks everywhere (especially on the expressways, where there are no bikes). But it's not because there are too many bikes. It's because there are too many cars. I'd love to drive a lot less if I had better options. I think a lot of other people would, too. Bicycles are one of those options. In the city, I find a bicycle much more practical (and a lot more enjoyable) for most daily errands than a car. A bicycle or train or bus doesn't replace a car 100% (just like a car doesn't replace a truck when you need to move furniture), but they can be used for lot of what we normally use cars to do, making the city less congested, less polluted, and generally a more pleasant place to live.

  • Thank you Nativetesuceesa for your comments. I agree that many times the bikes lanes are blocked by cars/trucks unloading which makes it even more congested for drivers and bikers, alike. But, this supports my stance on the streets downtown being too crowded to handle the car, bus bike, people who are using these routes. Dearborn has always been a busy street so not sure how the city determined it is under used. Part of the issue is the DIVY bikes used by tourists who are in no hurry to get anywhere and do not know the city. As far as the speed limit, it is impossible to drive 30MPH because of the congestion, but the streets were built for cars/buses/trucks not bikers so it seems that bikers should be not allowed to bike in the streets and hold up traffic. Though most bikers I see stay in their bike lane as you say to not get hit. I still contend that Chicago is far too big of a city to have so many bike lanes.

  • Roads were not built for cars. Plain and simple.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2013/apr/16/roads-not-built-for-cars-book

  • Bikers are guys who ride Harley Davidson, have cool jackets & sunglasses, have good looking women hanging on to them in the back seat, drink allot, own a gun and not afraid to use it, don't care about the law, ride across the country......and share their women with their friends at a local biker bar, F****** on the pool table in one large group orgy............so Terri, please don't group Bad A** Bikers with these nerdy guys who come from the North side with a lunch bag on their cheap Sears Chinese made bicycle, where they smell like B.O. at 10 am, and makes $12 an hour in some downtown office mail room.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Cubstalk, thanks for your comments on this biking issue. As usual you make a point using humor and honesty.

  • If you want to go to work on a bicycle, then you should live in Copenhagen or in Saigon......otherwise, don't weave in and out of city traffic....or some truck driver will run over you!

Leave a comment