Saturday, May 05, 2012

A New Definition of Crazy

This post is mostly directed to Chicagoans, but maybe it will be of interest to folks from other cities.

This, courtesy of a site called Crash Portal, is a map of bicycle crashes in my neighborhood of Chicago from 2007-2009:

Click on it for a clearer view of your neighborhood. The red circles with dots in them are fatalities. I presume most of these crashes are between bicycles and automobiles, as opposed to between bicycles and other bicycles or lamp posts.

As bicycling has become even more popular in the city since 2009, there is no reason to think the number of dots hasn't doubled since then. Search Google for "bicycle crashes Chicago" and you get a list of personal injury lawyers eager to hear from you.

Bicyclists are probably a lot like motorcyclists in that, while most are safety conscious, you see enough future organ donors on the road to think they're all crazy.

Drive a couple of miles on Addison Ave on any night, and you're going to see bicyclists wearing dark clothes, with no lights or reflectors. Or maybe you won't see them, and they'll turn into dots on the map. Chances are good.

I've seen families of bicyclists, with small children, riding down heavily trafficked Elston Ave. And more and more, you see bicyclists riding down the middle of a lane, instead of keeping as far to the right as they can. I guess they're exercising their rights.

Future dots.

I own a bicycle. I enjoy riding it. But these people are nuts.


Bullied Pulpit said...

People riding without lights are idiots, agreed.

But in defense of people who aren't hugging the curb/parked cars, they have just as much a right to the road as cars and it can be damn dangerous on the edge of the road. The ever present danger of getting "doored" as someone opens their car door as you ride by is real. And the road by the curb tends to be full of potholes (moreso than in the center of the lane), manhole covers that are sunken several inches below the surface of the road, and lots of broken glass. You can do pretty serious damage to your bike if you're not extremely careful. So sometimes it just makes sense to avoid it altogether instead of constantly swerving to avoid potholes and empty vodka bottles.

Now I'm off to take one of Minneapolis' many off-street bike trails out to a brewery in the suburbs. :)

Bob Miller said...

Oh, you're right, BP. I have a friend who had a door swing out in front of her as she was riding to work. Result: two broken arms.

Bicycling in the city is a hazardous activity, any way you do it. Off-street bike trails are the way to go.