The Chainlink

Why everyone hates bicyclists—and why they hate everyone back (Today's Crains Chicago Business)

Nicely written article I think.  You?

Why everyone hates bicyclists—and why they hate everyone back

 - Kendall Karmanian

Anyone visiting downtown for the first time in a few months will find a city transformed. Chicago has become a bike city.

Chicago has 200-plus miles of bike lanes and 13,000 bike racks. It is planning a total of 645 miles of lanes by 2020. Census data show the local population of those bicycling to work has increased steadily over the past several years. Some 2,713 more commuters bicycled to work in 2012 over 2011. Read the rest here.

Views: 1524

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Can't read it. I hate when you have to pay to read an article or two a week from a news source... I read the last Crain's article several times, and now it's telling me I'm over my monthly limit. 

I know.  It wouldn't let me read it on my phone but would on my desktop. Are you on your phone?

Michelle said:

Can't read it. I hate when you have to pay to read an article or two a week from a news source... I read the last Crain's article several times, and now it's telling me I'm over my monthly limit. 

Use Google. Search the article title, then click the link in the search results.  It's a common way to get around most/some/a few paywalls or registration-required articles.



Michelle said:

Can't read it. I hate when you have to pay to read an article or two a week from a news source... I read the last Crain's article several times, and now it's telling me I'm over my monthly limit. 

Here it is, reprinted without permission:

Why everyone hates bicyclists—and why they hate everyone back

Anyone visiting downtown for the first time in a few months will find a city transformed. Chicago has become a bike city.

Chicago has 200-plus miles of bike lanes and 13,000 bike racks. It is planning a total of 645 miles of lanes by 2020. Census data show the local population of those bicycling to work has increased steadily over the past several years. Some 2,713 more commuters bicycled to work in 2012 over 2011.

As the city continues to elevate two-wheeled travel—ushering in the Divvy bike-sharing program in June and working toward constructing 33 miles of bike lanes by year-end—the last couple of months have provided enough headline-grabbing incidents to make residents wonder how bumpy the ride will be on the path to mode-share harmony. 

A pregnant woman riding a Divvy bike was struck by an Illinois Department of Transportation vehicle. (She and her baby have recovered.) A pair of condominium owners in Lakeview sued to remove a Divvy station from outside their building, declaring it a “hideous” intrusion. Bikers grumble about incidents of “dooring” by clueless motorists. Pedestrians grumble about bicyclists on sidewalks. Drivers grumble about cyclists blowing through stoplights and zigzagging through traffic.

And all the while, the flames are being fanned by some admitted anti-bike pugilists in the press, such as Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, who routinely has railed against the new lanes and the Divvy program.

“With the Emanuel administration came an aggressive movement to install a lot of infrastructure as quickly as we can,” says Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, whose downtown ward has been at the heart of the bicycle developments. “I see the value over the long term, but this is disruptive and there are growing pains that come with it. We have all this infrastructure that a lot of folks frankly don't know how to use, and there are still many bicyclists in Chicago who aren't aware you can't ride on the sidewalk.”

A CITY BUILT FOR CARS

Mr. Reilly says some Loop business owners along Dearborn Street, where the city has reported a 100 percent jump in bike traffic since last year, have complained to his office about an increase in near-collisions between bikes and cars. Residents in the district have been upset about bike racks or Divvy stations that have displaced street parking or loading zones. And still others just seem constitutionally opposed to change.

The change is especially wrenching because Chicago, like most cities, is built for the car. But that doesn't mean it can't be retrofitted. Bicycling magazine named Chicago the fifth-most bike-friendly city of 2012. This year, CNN.com rated Chicago among its eight most bike-friendly cities. The city is on track to have the biggest bike-share program in the nation. Some 650,000 Divvy trips have been taken since the program began June 27.

Optimists say this is all part of the process of moving to happier and healthier times. Eventually, the thinking goes, the greater number of bicycling citizens and infrastructure will raise the public's consciousness, encourage more people to obey the rules and breed magnanimity throughout the streets.

Before that happens, Chicagoans need to adopt new behaviors to accommodate the new world order, observers say. Novice bicyclists must learn the rules and intangibles of the road; early-adopter cyclists must stop riding the streets as if they're in the Tour de France; pedestrians must stay out of bike paths; cabs must be more mindful of where they are picking up passengers; and cops must issue more tickets.

In addition to creating bike lanes and improving signage, the city has launched initiatives to educate the public. In the last year, it has held “enforcement events” with the Chicago Police Department; installed “LOOK!” stickers on taxicabs; hosted a Divvy bike-safety video contest; and held bike camps at Chicago Public Schools. The city's Bicycling Ambassadors, a nine-person team that goes around town promoting safe cycling, educated some 63,500 people last year.

But Mr. Reilly says these efforts have failed to keep pace with the explosion of cycling.

The man at the heart of the bike reformation, Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, who was summoned here after successfully overseeing a bicycle overhaul in Washington, says Chicago has some inherent attitudinal challenges it must overcome.

GROWING PAINS

Despite its reputation of solid, Midwestern goodness, Mr. Klein, who recently announced thathe is stepping down from his job, says he has found the city to be “a little like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: People are so nice before they get behind the wheel.”

Mr. Reilly says the city has a challenge in striking a balance between “educating the public and ticketing the public. I get complaints from both sides of the equation: motorists complaining that bicyclists are getting away with murder, and those in the bicycle community saying, 'Why on earth are police pulling me over?' “

In September, the City Council approved an increase in the maximum fines, to $200 from $50, for bicyclists caught riding the sidewalks on Sheridan Road north of where the lakefront path ends. In June, the council passed an ordinance that increased fines to $1,000 from $500 for motorists who cause dooring collisions. Meanwhile, fines for bicyclists who violate the rules of the road jumped to between $50 and $200 from $25. In October, Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd, suggested cyclists pay a $25 registration fee and take a class on safety and rules of the road.

Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th, who proposed the hike in fines for bicyclists riding on sidewalks on Sheridan Road, notes that other cities have experienced similar growing pains as they've moved to elevate bicycling.

“What we are going through as a city is not an anomaly,” he says. “If you look at cities like San Francisco and Portland, (which) have promoted cycling, there comes that point where there is a cross-section of tension between pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.”

Contact: life@chicagobusiness.com

Ah thanks for the tip guys! I feel like I knew that at some point in my life but forgot. 

JM 6.5 said:

Use Google. Search the article title, then click the link in the search results.  It's a common way to get around most/some/a few paywalls or registration-required articles.



Michelle said:

Can't read it. I hate when you have to pay to read an article or two a week from a news source... I read the last Crain's article several times, and now it's telling me I'm over my monthly limit. 

Thanks! 

Also... I'm so sick of the "stop riding like you're in the tour de france" thing... it's so overused and obnoxious.

Kevin C said:

Here it is, reprinted without permission:

Why everyone hates bicyclists—and why they hate everyone back

Anyone visiting downtown for the first time in a few months will find a city transformed. Chicago has become a bike city.

Chicago has 200-plus miles of bike lanes and 13,000 bike racks. It is planning a total of 645 miles of lanes by 2020. Census data show the local population of those bicycling to work has increased steadily over the past several years. Some 2,713 more commuters bicycled to work in 2012 over 2011.

As the city continues to elevate two-wheeled travel—ushering in the Divvy bike-sharing program in June and working toward constructing 33 miles of bike lanes by year-end—the last couple of months have provided enough headline-grabbing incidents to make residents wonder how bumpy the ride will be on the path to mode-share harmony. 

A pregnant woman riding a Divvy bike was struck by an Illinois Department of Transportation vehicle. (She and her baby have recovered.) A pair of condominium owners in Lakeview sued to remove a Divvy station from outside their building, declaring it a “hideous” intrusion. Bikers grumble about incidents of “dooring” by clueless motorists. Pedestrians grumble about bicyclists on sidewalks. Drivers grumble about cyclists blowing through stoplights and zigzagging through traffic.

And all the while, the flames are being fanned by some admitted anti-bike pugilists in the press, such as Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, who routinely has railed against the new lanes and the Divvy program.

“With the Emanuel administration came an aggressive movement to install a lot of infrastructure as quickly as we can,” says Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, whose downtown ward has been at the heart of the bicycle developments. “I see the value over the long term, but this is disruptive and there are growing pains that come with it. We have all this infrastructure that a lot of folks frankly don't know how to use, and there are still many bicyclists in Chicago who aren't aware you can't ride on the sidewalk.”

A CITY BUILT FOR CARS

Mr. Reilly says some Loop business owners along Dearborn Street, where the city has reported a 100 percent jump in bike traffic since last year, have complained to his office about an increase in near-collisions between bikes and cars. Residents in the district have been upset about bike racks or Divvy stations that have displaced street parking or loading zones. And still others just seem constitutionally opposed to change.

The change is especially wrenching because Chicago, like most cities, is built for the car. But that doesn't mean it can't be retrofitted. Bicycling magazine named Chicago the fifth-most bike-friendly city of 2012. This year, CNN.com rated Chicago among its eight most bike-friendly cities. The city is on track to have the biggest bike-share program in the nation. Some 650,000 Divvy trips have been taken since the program began June 27.

Optimists say this is all part of the process of moving to happier and healthier times. Eventually, the thinking goes, the greater number of bicycling citizens and infrastructure will raise the public's consciousness, encourage more people to obey the rules and breed magnanimity throughout the streets.

Before that happens, Chicagoans need to adopt new behaviors to accommodate the new world order, observers say. Novice bicyclists must learn the rules and intangibles of the road; early-adopter cyclists must stop riding the streets as if they're in the Tour de France; pedestrians must stay out of bike paths; cabs must be more mindful of where they are picking up passengers; and cops must issue more tickets.

In addition to creating bike lanes and improving signage, the city has launched initiatives to educate the public. In the last year, it has held “enforcement events” with the Chicago Police Department; installed “LOOK!” stickers on taxicabs; hosted a Divvy bike-safety video contest; and held bike camps at Chicago Public Schools. The city's Bicycling Ambassadors, a nine-person team that goes around town promoting safe cycling, educated some 63,500 people last year.

But Mr. Reilly says these efforts have failed to keep pace with the explosion of cycling.

The man at the heart of the bike reformation, Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, who was summoned here after successfully overseeing a bicycle overhaul in Washington, says Chicago has some inherent attitudinal challenges it must overcome.

GROWING PAINS

Despite its reputation of solid, Midwestern goodness, Mr. Klein, who recently announced thathe is stepping down from his job, says he has found the city to be “a little like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: People are so nice before they get behind the wheel.”

Mr. Reilly says the city has a challenge in striking a balance between “educating the public and ticketing the public. I get complaints from both sides of the equation: motorists complaining that bicyclists are getting away with murder, and those in the bicycle community saying, 'Why on earth are police pulling me over?' “

In September, the City Council approved an increase in the maximum fines, to $200 from $50, for bicyclists caught riding the sidewalks on Sheridan Road north of where the lakefront path ends. In June, the council passed an ordinance that increased fines to $1,000 from $500 for motorists who cause dooring collisions. Meanwhile, fines for bicyclists who violate the rules of the road jumped to between $50 and $200 from $25. In October, Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd, suggested cyclists pay a $25 registration fee and take a class on safety and rules of the road.

Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th, who proposed the hike in fines for bicyclists riding on sidewalks on Sheridan Road, notes that other cities have experienced similar growing pains as they've moved to elevate bicycling.

“What we are going through as a city is not an anomaly,” he says. “If you look at cities like San Francisco and Portland, (which) have promoted cycling, there comes that point where there is a cross-section of tension between pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.”

Contact: life@chicagobusiness.com

Just don't read the comments! YIKES. 

They perfectly illustrate Gabe Klein's observation in the article. Why are Chicagoans - generally nice - such entitled, aggressive jerks about driving in the first place? Would love to group headshrink/intervention my otherwise beloved city on that one. 

This article was posted today as well:

http://www.nationofchange.org/wheels-misfortune-1384267041

 

 

I suggest skipping the comments section. I find it hard to believe that people in cars, think that because a bike passes them at a light, and is in front of them, they have the right to run them over.  Or that as a cyclist, who Is moving, you have a responsibility to see the guy parking, and should be watching for him to open his door right in front of you.  Wow.  "Some" people are just plain pricks. 

I started reading the comments and stopped when I felt my blood pressure rising. Only took about 5 or 6. 

I think the section on growing pains is realistic. The changes have made life different for all users. It takes a while to adapt.  In this case, change is good. Still there are lots of complaints. Or, are there?

squeaky wheels, as we all know, ...

On line communicators tend to squeak and tend to be resistant to whatever lube might do well when your bike is on the stand.  Folks rail here, there, everywhere.  

I have been riding  in the city for over thirty years.  99% of  my encounters are pleasant. its not just me but I think most Chicagoans tend to be decent people.  Travelers often find this. The reality is that what goes around generally indeed (to use another hackneyed aphorism) does [rebound]. I expect to be treated right and I get treated right. When that does not occur I have gotten angry but have always done better when my anger is held at bay.  There are  plenty of aggressive cretins on the streets of Chicago and its really hard to make book on what their manner of transportation might be.  The cretinous gene seems very well spread across the spectrum of road users and abusers.  Cyclists are not $@%^ as some columnists my think and drivers are not @##@#@ as many users of this forum may think. That being said there are  %&%&% on the road.  Whatever I am doing, wherever I am walking, riding or driving, I strive to be better than them and leave that intersection in a better place than I found it.  My generation put flowers in the soldiers' guns.  It is a surprisingly effective tool.

I think the section on growing pains is realistic. The changes have made life different for all users. It takes a while to adapt.

I agree.

My generation put flowers in the soldiers' guns.  It is a surprisingly effective tool.

...in so many situations.


RSS

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service