The Chainlink

A friend of mine posted this to Facebook this morning:  

Any other commuters out there caught in the CPD's bike trap this morning at six corners? At least ten other cyclists received tickets while I was stopped, so I know you're out there, fronds and fronds of fronds. Alternatively, if you're versed in Chicago bike law, I'd love to chat. I'll trade advice for really excellent baked goods or, you know, money.

Does anyone know what prompted these tickets? Was anyone else stopped?

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I wonder if this is a response to the recent cyclist death? Sadly, doesn't seem like an effective reaction though.

Did you overhear or talk anyone who was getting a ticket? Any idea what offense(s) they were writing tickets for?

I saw this occurring. There were a whole bunch of police snagging cyclists as they went through the intersection. I didn't get stopped, so I can't tell you if they were handing out tickets or warnings or what. 

To be clear, this was at Damen/North/Milwaukee. Going southbound, it's common for cyclists to stop during the first phase of the light and then proceed with pedestrians (and the walk signal) through the second phase to get halfway into the intersection, where they wait for the green light. Cyclists who do this were getting stopped this AM. 

I didn't want to get stopped, so I waited for the green before entering the intersection this AM, but I believe that the (technically illegal) behavior of proceeding with pedestrians is actually safer because it minimizes the chances of getting left-hooked by cars going from NB Damen to WB North. It's frustrating to see CPD stopping people for safe behavior when dangerous driving goes unchecked. 


In these situations, if I absolutely need those extra fifteen seconds in my life, I just dismount and walk my bike across the intersection with the pedestrians.

Also this at DNA Info

This adds to what David said above. They were apparently ticketing people for crossing with the pedestrian walk signal in advance of the green light. Seems like we need to get the law updated to make this safer riding practice legalized.

I would normally have no sympathy for cyclists who blow a red light.I am often the only idiot sitting at a light while.my fellow cyclistn.barrel through. In this case the police are fools. There are plenty of actions that deserve a ticket. This action, leaving 5 seconds early with the pedestrians, is safer. So, officers, hear this from an officer of the court-- I will ALWAYS take the safer course of action regardless of the law. I will continue to leave a smidgen early to create space between myself and traffic and will continue to stop at all red lights. I suggest that you serve the public by ticketing ALL actors who do dangerous things and reward those of us who make the streets safer. You have made your point by ticketing good citizens while real law breakers ride on the sidewalk and blow through lights. Ask yourselves whether you are accomplishing anything.

This action, leaving 5 seconds early with the pedestrians, is safer.

I agree, but to be accurate, this is an asymmetrical 3-way intersection and cyclists are proceeding along Milwaukee on the walk light corresponding to the green light on Damen to cross North, not taking advantage of the "leading pedestrian interval" on Milwaukee.

Safer for whom? You, or the pedestrian? I find the view of the pedestrian completely lacking in this discussion

Safer. Determined by whom?
I always wait for light on six corner intersections. I rather have the the unpredictable driver in front of me than behind me. So I would say waiting is safer than skipping ahead.
You do get my point, right: "Safer" in this context is your (and mine) opinion. Not a fact.

Normally, at two-street intersections, I agree - it is safer to get out in front of traffic and be early. 

At the intersection in question, last Saturday morning I was in the left turn lane (turning on Milwaukee from Damen) and after the light was green (for me), I was nearly hit head on by a driver that was driving into the intersection on a red, turning left too sharply into my turn lane where I was a sitting duck. I screamed. Luckily, she stopped before she hit me but she was headed straight for the turn lane. I think, because there are too many variables, trying to get out in front in a 3-way intersection is not safe because there's too much of a chance someone could get in the intersection on a red and hit you. 

From reading the DNA comments and a friend who lives in the area, this is just more justified hate for cyclists and cycling culture. Just look at that stretch from that intersection going into downtown, not a safe ride for cyclists thanks to all those businesses and residents who refuse to put in cycling facilities.

According to Streetsblog, this crackdown was requested by Alderman Hopkins.  How many cyclists contact ward offices about dangerous driver behavior?  If that were done more often, maybe there would be more police action targeting dangerous drivers.

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