Share the Road?

Date: 
06/19/2010

When you hear the phrase "bicycle path" what comes to mind? Lake Shore Drive, Damen Avenue, or Milwaukee Avenue? No, the latter two are routes, not paths.

Education is so important. We learned in first grade: to hold hands when crossing the street; STOP, LOOK, LISTEN; AND TO LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING. I even had bicycle education in elementary school, belonged to the local block bicycle club, and taught an entire elementary school bicycle safety class for the Chicago Public Schools which included having a speaker from the Illinois Secretary of State's office. The speaker had to fulfill his sentence of community hours for drunk driving. Another time a speaker from the Secretary of State's office, speaking to a high school group, related her experience of drinking in the forest preserves yearly at a family reunion. While leaving the party in her car intoxicated, she had killed someone.

Why cannot bicyclists in the neighborhood, STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN? If one stopped at an intersection, my car would not accidentally hit anyone. I would sleep quietly at night and have peace of mind. There would be less medical bills for doctors.

Share the road? What space are we speaking about? Anyone can draw a line on a street, but is there enough room to share, especially when the bicyclists ride side-by-side? Is running street lights sharing or gambling? Is failure to yield sharing? Who is riding to be green or riding to complete their daily 25 minutes of aerobic exercise? Drivers of the cars have their hearts beating loud and rapid too, but from near accidents. I am the one yelling at 9 p.m. at night on Milwaukee Avenue at all those cyclists without lights or reflectors. Remember my advice will save your life.

Some others have noticed this lack of common sense sharing at night, and now the police department is giving away lights. Who is paying for these lights? Why aren't lights and bells/horns standard equipment? Why don't bicyclists have to obey the Rules of the Road? Why aren't they ticketed? Also ticket those unlawful pedestrians crossing in the middle of the block, who do not look both ways, nor even at you.

We cannot ticket until we educate, then test, and issue an operating license. Allow the bicyclist to share for road maintenance too. Pay for a license plate for that bike also.

Education is needed for those who moved here from other places. Just think of the revenue the City of Chicago could collect for automobile city stickers, if out-of-town residents had to identify oneself as a city dweller. Illinois would also benefit by collecting more driving license fees and maybe insurance rates would then go down, with more insurers in the pool.

Does the city of Chicago need more revenue? Require all bike owners to pass a written test and a physical test about proper arm signals. Inspect the bike for a light, reflectors, and horn. Register it, so when it is stolen, relocated to Champaign-Urbana, and resold there, the criminals can be arrested.

Has there been a follow-up study on how well these bicycle routes are working? Have the motorists' opinions been included with the accident statistics? The cyclists on Milwaukee are moving faster than the cars, but how are everyone's' nerves holding out?

Why can't any vehicle making an illegal maneuver be fined?

In summary, educate, test, license with fees, and fine for illegal actions. And also, pay for parking so there is SHARING OF THE ROAD!

Wicker Park Resident

 

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