A bicyclist who wears a helmet and stays in the designated bike lanes, should be safe enough on city streets of Chicago, right? Well, not quite. Bicyclists don’t have a prayer of surviving impact with a 2800 VW or – heaven help us – a city bus.
Already in 2008 five bicyclists have died in traffic accidents…almost one a month!
The accidents are bizarre. One bicyclist was thrown from his bike by a motorist opening the car door into him…he was thrown into the path of another car. Was a freaky situation? You bet, but it’s not at all uncommon I’m told. Buses and automobile drivers have got to slow down just a little bit they need to recognize that there are others using the roadways – pedestrians and bikers alike. Last I checked these have the right of way and it’s up to the larger vehicle to yield.
It’s absolutely amazing how frequently vehicles violate the bike lanes. And, it’s downright frightening when you witness a car or bus push a bicyclist into a curb and off the road, or force them into oncoming traffic, or throw open the driver’s car door into an oncoming bicyclist. What’s scary is that these are common occurrences for those who choose bicycles over cars.
Chicago is relatively new to bicycle traffic, while much of the world takes this mode of transportation in stride. It will take some adjusting for motor vehicle drivers here to learn how to adjust. Seriously, though, how difficult is it to slow down just a little? How difficult would it be to pay attention to others who are sharing the road? Would it be that difficult to give cyclists some courtesy? A few seconds… a bit of common courtesy…to ensure a cyclist’s safety?