The Chainlink

Hit by car, minor injury, but seeking advice how to handle better next time

I was hit by a car in the loop today as I was changing lanes in preparation of a left turn. Injury seems minor, swollen and bruised ankle, but the police did not give the driver a citation. He said it was because I left the bike lane, although in that stretch of Wells, the “bike lane” is the shared right hand lane. Cop wouldn’t even listen to my whole story once he confirmed I left “the bike lane.”

Is there anything I should have done differently?

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Sorry you were hit and glad you are up and alright.

I sort of expect some choice words for this recommendation, but I would look into cameras, particularly these:

Excellent bike cam. Cyciq Fly 6 rear cam $180, Fly 12 front cam $280 = $460.

Thanks.  I was on a Divvy, so cameras weren’t an option.

I ride a Divvy, and I have a clip on camera that I wear on my safety vest. It's basically the same type of camera worn by police officers.

What a sad statement - to ride a bicycle in the US, you need to wear a safety vest and carry a camera...meanwhile any idiot can get a driver's license, and the police don't do squat to enforce the laws.

Wells St is probably one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the city for cyclists. Start with the fact that you have a one mile long shared bike lane under the L tracks with generally poor lighting. The El support structure creates numerous pinch points. You have parking on the west side of the street near the bike lane, so doorings are a good possibility. From Wacker to Van Buren you have four westbound one-way streets, and you have to deal with vehicles turning right with no dedicated right turn lane. Some drivers attempt to turn right from the curb, others from the shared bike lanes.

Then there are the numerous parking garages on the right side. It's not bad when a driver signals their intention to turn into the garage, but many drivers will illegally hook bikers by stopping half way through the turn when there are pedestrians on the sidewalk in front of the entrance.

Then there's the #37 bus. The street doesn't have proper bus stops along the curb, so the drivers will discharge passengers from the bike lane. You have to be careful around them as the passengers generally don't bother looking to see if there is a cyclists coming up along the side of the bus.

I shouldn't forget the crazy pedestrians. Given the proximity to Union and Ogilvie stations, there are a large number of commuters walking east/west, and no small number of them have a death wish, jaywalking across Wells without bothering to look for oncoming traffic. 

Add to that the generally sh*tty condition of the pavement. It's gotten a bit better over the past 6 months, but the stretch from Adams to Jackson is wretched.

Lastly, you have numerous illegally parked vehicles in the shared bike lane, including Coke drivers, taxis, ride shares, and the ever present armored cars at the Federal Reserve Bank.

I wear a safety best to (hopefully) be seen. I've had more close calls than I can count. The camera is primarily used to document vehicles illegally parked.

Why one Earth they don't shift or eliminate the parking along the west side of the street, and put a dedicated bike lane along the curb is beyond me.

An utterly ridiculous exaggeration.  Yes, spoiler alert -- the police are NOT here to "serve & protect." As Upton Sinclair would say, it's a jungle out there.

But I'll keep on riding fearlessly, without a vest or camera. Live free.

Sorry you were hit and glad you are up and alright.

I sort of expect some choice words for this recommendation, but I would look into cameras, particularly these:
If there is a lot of traffic, I will stay in the right lane, cross the road, then wait in the right lane for the road going in the direction I want. (Pedestrian left turn).

There wasn’t a lot of traffic, I signaled and looked before I tried to change lanes, there was plenty of room. Either she didn’t understand the signal or she tried to speed up to get ahead of me right after I looked behind me. 

Although not surprised, it is utter bullshit that the officer didn't hear or listen to you. You (and we fellow cyclists) deserve better. Hoping you have a speedy recovery.



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