Public safety is being jeopardized by bicyclists

Before I get clobbered by those who like the increase of bike riding in the city, hear me out.

The other day, I was crossing the street at a fairly busy intersection in the West Loop and an angry dude on a bicycle first, nearly clipped my left arm off, and second, yelled at me when I clearly had the right of way. He called me names that made me blush, and not from flattery. Sorry, but from what I remember in first grade- green means “GO, IT’S YOUR TURN”. Not “Hey, let’s get blasted by any sort of moving transportation!”

So how do you think I feel when I left my apartment Monday morning, heading to work, to find two police officers “stationing” the fairly busy West Loop street I live on. Not because of a crime scene but because some aggressive bikers on this street feel entitled to speed like it is the Tour de France, and disregard anyone (car, human, dog) in their way. This issue has caused accidents I feel could be entirely preventable if proper lane/road rules were simply followed.

Let’s add the CDOT worker holding up a banner, which I am sure cost a pretty penny to make, saying something like “Let’s share the road, peace love and puppies”. (Okay, well maybe not that lovey dovey. But still. You see my point.)

Really?

We have toddlers being shot. The average murder rate here is sickening.  Yet, let’s use funding and manpower on having our police standing outside in what is generally known to be an area that does not experience a high crime rate, having to tell bicycle riders to use common rules of the road etiquette? Makes a lot of sense to me, and by that, I mean none. Not when we live in a city that has been referred to as one in a time of “crisis”.

This is not a gripe about the increase of bikers. I think it’s wonderful if you want to use an environmentally friendly mode of transit. Good one, Chicago, that a city known much more for being a city of hot dog lovers rather than hot yoga lovers joins the healthy team. I, in fact, use the environmentally friendly mode of transit called walking every day as transit to work.

However, I think priorities should be set. I don’t think with the amount of horrific occurrences of violence Chicago has seen in the past year, we should be most concerned with “Johnny-I-blew-a-stop-sign-on-my-way-to-work”, who can take responsibility for riding in the proper manner, than taking care of more important issues. Such as, oh, say, patrolling the first day of school on the “Safe Passage” routes? Something tells me that they were not adequately staffed. If I am incorrect, please let me know. Why were these two police personnel patrolling a bike lane in a “yuppie” area instead of making sure our youth get to school safely?

So, let’s worry about more important things, can we, city of Chicago? Like, you know, that whole future of our youth? Protecting elderly in areas where they are experiencing crime?

Okay, time to go get on my Divvy now and blow through the West Loop like it’s rural Montana. Kidding. We all know I’d probably fall off of a Divvy in about 12 seconds and just look like my usual graceful self. I’ll stick to that walking idea. But, I won't walk directly into that quiet intersection of State and Madison downtown when I have a red light. It just seems smart to stay put.

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    Amy Litterski

    Born and bred Chicagoan. 30-something. Married to this guy I met 14 years ago at a Northwest side block party. Have a dog. Never thought those words would be in a description about me. University of Illinois alum. I've loved to write since age 4. I have some samples, they are pretty impressive, I promise. I enjoy coffee and hot sauce too much.

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