WBEZ | biking http://www.wbez.org/tags/biking Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How often are cabs pulled over? And what for? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/how-often-are-cabs-pulled-over-and-what-109734 <p><p><a name="video"></a><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0zK8vTcqQck?rel=0" width="620"></iframe><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/135672786&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Listen to this story on the Curious City podcast, including a debrief with question-asker Dan Monaghan and WBEZ reporter Odette Yousef, at minute 5:53 in the audio above.&nbsp;</em></p><p>Dan Monaghan bikes and drives and walks a lot in Chicago. He sees a lot on the road that irritates him, especially from cab drivers. But he doesn&rsquo;t see them getting pulled over all that often. So he wrote in to Curious City with a pretty simple question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>How often are taxis pulled over and what is the most often issued offense they receive?</em></p><p>Or at least it seemed simple when we took it on back in August. We figured a simple data request to the right city department would yield a clear-cut conclusion. But nearly a dozen Freedom of Information requests and six months later, here&rsquo;s the answer.</p><p>We don&rsquo;t know.</p><p>(<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re72di5phM0">cue the crickets</a>)</p><p>But not all is lost. Because what we did learn on this long, strange trip is interesting in its own right. Our investigation afforded us a rare look inside the world of Chicago taxi drivers, and underlines what could be a tough road ahead &ndash; one increasingly <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cabbies-threaten-abandon-uber-over-changes-109625" target="_blank">riddled</a> with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cab-livery-companies-sue-city-over-rideshare-companies-109655">potholes</a>, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cabbies-threaten-abandon-uber-over-changes-109625" target="_blank">speed</a> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/silence-medallion-auction-puzzles-some-109546">bumps</a> and yes, the occasional ticket from law enforcement.</p><p>Fasten your seatbelts, and I&#39;ll try to explain.</p><p><strong>The data trail</strong></p><p>The first surprising thing we learned in tackling this question is that there&rsquo;s not one department that contains all the data. The city&rsquo;s Department of Finance has some, the city&rsquo;s Department of Administrative Hearings has some, the city&rsquo;s department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has some, and the Circuit Court of Cook County has some too. Each of these required separate (and sometimes multiple) data requests.</p><p>In addition, the legal codes that underly the citations don&rsquo;t match up across departments. For example, there is an offense under the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/bacp/rulesandregs/publicchauffeursrulesregs20121203.pdf">city&rsquo;s rules for taxi drivers</a> called &ldquo;reckless driving&rdquo; (see Rule CH5.08). There&rsquo;s also a part of the state&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=062500050HCh.+11&amp;ActID=1815&amp;ChapterID=49&amp;SeqStart=102800000&amp;SeqEnd=125900000">vehicle code</a> about &ldquo;reckless driving&rdquo; (Sec. 11-503). But these two things aren&rsquo;t necessarily identical &ndash; and they may not match up with what you, or I, might call &ldquo;reckless driving,&rdquo; were we to witness something on the street.</p><p>To put a finer point on it, the data we got back from the Circuit Court showed only ten citations written in 2012 to cab&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dan and odette.PNG" style="height: 222px; width: 370px; float: right;" title="Dan Monaghan, right, asked Curious City about the most common citations given to cab drivers. WBEZ's Odette Yousef, left, helped answer his question. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" />drivers for &ldquo;reckless driving.&rdquo; But the same data shows 1,433 citations that year for speeding. Some might consider speeding to be reckless driving, but tickets may be written under different parts of the code. Separately, that year the&nbsp;Department of Administrative Hearings shows 996 citations for &ldquo;unsafe driving&rdquo; (which, we&rsquo;ll explain a bit later, may be a vastly underreported figure). But &ldquo;unsafe driving&rdquo; under the city code is quite broad. It may include offenses that, under the state rules, would be filed under &ldquo;reckless driving&rdquo; and speeding.</p><p>This is all to say that even when we do get data, we can&rsquo;t just pool it all together for analysis. The same offenses may be defined differently, depending on whether you&rsquo;re looking at city code or state laws, and even those might not match up with what we, in our own minds, may consider to be dangerous conduct!</p><p><strong>The known knowns</strong></p><p>Most of the violations that taxi drivers get slapped with end up with the City of Chicago, and not with the Circuit Court of Cook County. But let&rsquo;s dwell on the latter violations for a bit, because the vast majority of them are for moving violations. This is likely what Dan was thinking about when he wondered how often taxis are pulled over: how often do police intervene when they see a taxi doing something wrong?</p><p><script id="infogram_0_adjudication-of-taxi-citations-2012" src="//e.infogr.am/js/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script></p><p>There were more than 7,300 tickets written to taxis that were adjudicated by the Cook County Circuit Court in 2012. They were written out to about 4,300 different vehicles, but when you dig into it, each of those vehicles might have been used by several different drivers over the course of the year. For example, taxi plate 21188TX racked up the highest number of tickets for moving violations adjudicated by the Cook County Circuit Court in 2012 -- thirteen tickets in all. But those tickets were earned by three different people who drove that car.</p><p>Sorting by name doesn&rsquo;t really help either. According to this data, Mohammed Khan received a ton more tickets than anyone else in this data set &ndash; a whopping 27 in one year &ndash; but heavens knows how many Mohammed Khans are driving cabs in Chicago. It&rsquo;s not an uncommon name.</p><p>This makes it difficult for us even to give a range of numbers for taxi drivers who saw tickets. But the City of Chicago has about 7,000 cabs, so the number of times cabs would have been written tickets that headed to the Circuit Court would average out at about once per cab in 2012.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the thing: not all tickets head to the Circuit Court of Cook County. Police may instead cite a violation of the city code instead, which means the ticket would end up going to the Department of Administrative Hearings. In 2012, that department recorded 996 cases of &ldquo;unsafe driving&rdquo; for taxis. But this does not necessarily mean they all resulted from a police pulling the vehicle over. Some may have. But many may have resulted instead from a 311 call.</p><p>Now, even though Dan asked about how often cabs are &ldquo;pulled over,&rdquo; we took a bit of creative license with his inquiry to find out more broadly what the most common tickets and citation were for cabbies. That is to say, not just tickets that resulted from a cop pulling a cab over, but also ones that may have been issued for parking violations, for example.</p><p><strong>These are things we know that we know</strong></p><p>Parking tickets and red light camera tickets are a big headache for cab drivers in Chicago. The city&rsquo;s Department of Finance tracks this information and provided us with humongous spreadsheets of all those tickets that were written in 2012. Turns out that year, more than 28,000 tickets were written to cab drivers for parking-related violations. This meshed pretty well with what cabbies told us, and helped us unearth a phenomenon we hadn&rsquo;t known of: the so-called &ldquo;fly tickets.&rdquo;</p><p>One driver who explained it to us was Al Smith, who had to file for bankruptcy because of $5,000 in overdue parking tickets alone. Smith noted that over the years, the city has gotten rid of many of its cab stands, eliminating sanctioned places for cabbies to pull into to pick up and drop off passengers. At the same time, Smith contended that the city has become more aggressive in ticketing drivers who pull over in tow zones or other restricted spaces for even brief moments to offload or pick up.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/04.jpg" style="float: left; height: 210px; width: 373px;" title="Cab driver Al Smith, right, filed for bankruptcy because of $5,000 in overdue parking tickets alone. Dan Monaghan, left, started this investigation into cab citations with his question for Curious City. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" />&ldquo;See this corner we just passed here at Union Station?&rdquo; he pointed out, &ldquo;The last space of that cab line is designated a tow zone. But they use it like a weapon.&rdquo; Smith explained that the city assigned a traffic enforcement agent specifically at that space to catch cab drivers who pull into that spot. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not parked there. We&rsquo;re just processing there,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;But if they catch you in that space, they will write you a ticket.&rdquo;</p><p>Many cab drivers complained of similar enforcement, noting that city rules allow cab drivers to pull over in restricted spaces for a few minutes to allow passengers on or off. But often the enforcement officers who write up the tickets do not hand them, in-person, to the drivers. Instead, they are posted in the mail, arriving in drivers&rsquo; mailboxes weeks after the offense allegedly occurred. A driver may have picked up and dropped off hundreds of people in the intervening time, and often cannot even recollect where she or he was at the time of the purported offense.</p><p>Red light camera tickets accounted for nearly 9,000 tickets to taxi drivers in 2012. That generated at least $843,000 dollars for the city (cha-ching!). Interestingly, there were a couple of taxis that were each issued 14 red light camera tickets that year alone. Does that count as reckless driving? Maybe. But with the automated ticketing system, the city no longer relies on police to pull them over.</p><p><script id="infogram_0_top-citations-issues-to-taxi-drivers-2012" src="//e.infogr.am/js/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script></p><p><strong>There are known unknowns</strong></p><p>Aside from the data held by the Circuit Court of Cook County (mostly moving violations) and the Department of Finance (mostly parking and red light cameras), there is also untold amounts of data at the City of Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Administrative Hearings. This department keeps track of all citations issued under the city&rsquo;s Rules and Regulations for <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/bacp/rulesandregs/publicchauffeursrulesregs20121203.pdf">public chauffeurs</a> and for <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/bacp/publicvehicleinfo/medallionowners/medallionlicenseholderrulesregsf20120626.pdf">medallion owners</a>.</p><p>This is where we ran into problems. Despite having data on citations that were issued under those parts of the city code in 2012, the department is incapable of searching their database in useful ways. We submitted multiple requests for data of the top ten violations for taxi drivers in that year. But the department was unable to do this search, and asked us to specify which violations we wanted to know about. Obviously, this is not very helpful.</p><p>However, somewhat inexplicably, the department was able to tell us that the top two violations were for &ldquo;unsafe driving&rdquo; and &ldquo;discourteous conduct.&rdquo; As mentioned earlier, this department adjudicated fewer than 1000 citations for unsafe driving. However, it handled more than 4,000 citations for discourteous conduct.</p><p>But let&rsquo;s complicate this even more. James Mueller once worked for the city, and helped write many of the rules that still govern Chicago&rsquo;s taxi industry today. After he retired, he briefly used his lawyering skills to help cab drivers fight citations in the city&rsquo;s Administrative Hearings Court. He told us that this experience was revelatory, because often decisions &ndash; on both sides &ndash; were not reached according to what made the roads safer, but for what was more expeditious.</p><p>Mueller specifically saw this happen with cab drivers who came into the court after being cited for reckless driving. &ldquo;And the city will tell them on a reckless driving [charge], I would say probably 9 times out of 10, unless the person has a &nbsp;bad record, &lsquo;if you plead guilty I&rsquo;ll amend the charge from reckless driving to general simple discourteous conduct and offer a relatively low fine,&rsquo;&rdquo; Mueller said.</p><p>Often, the cab driver would take the deal, said Mueller, because the penalty for discourteous conduct is a relatively minor fine. On the other hand, if the driver were to be found guilty of reckless driving, he or she would have to go back to public chauffeur training school, undergo a physical exam and get a drug test. At the worst, this risks his or her license, and at best, results in a loss of income for several weeks while they try to get reinstated.</p><p>&ldquo;So a lot of those reckless driving charges, whether they happened or not, get shifted to general discourtesy,&rdquo; said Mueller. &ldquo;And that way it&rsquo;s more efficient for the city to handle all of those cases, you get all these guilty pleas, you get all of this money coming in, and that&rsquo;s the way it works.&rdquo;</p><p><script id="infogram_0_taxi-complaints-from-311-calls-2012" src="//e.infogr.am/js/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script></p><p>We asked the city&rsquo;s Department of Administrative Hearings if they could share data on what the original charges, and what the amended charges were for each of the citations in 2012. It could not provide us with that data. So in the end, the information we received about discourteous conduct and unsafe driving from this source may be completely unreliable.</p><p>One thing this could explain, however, is the enormous mismatch between cab complaints called in via 311, and the violations that the city adjudicates. In 2012, the city took about 14,000 calls about taxis. Half of those were to report reckless driving. Fewer than 1,200 were to report a &ldquo;rude&rdquo; cab driver. Less than 5 percent of those 311 calls ended up with a case being filed with the city&rsquo;s Department of Administrative Hearings. It turns out, the vast majority of 311 callers either don&rsquo;t take note of essential details about the cab that irked them (such as its cab number), or they don&rsquo;t follow through with filling out an affidavit of the complaint.</p><p><strong>Finally, there are also unknown unknowns</strong></p><p>On top of the data we requested (and mostly didn&rsquo;t receive) from the Department of Administrative Hearings, there is a whole spectrum of other violations that a cab driver might receive. Typically, these would be for non-moving violations &ndash; things relating to the condition of his or her vehicle, like whether a tail light is out, or whether there are scratches on the vehicle.</p><p>This may not be what Dan was originally getting at in his question, but it became apparent in talking to people that these kinds of infractions can add up to significant cost and inconvenience for both drivers and cab owners. On the flip side of that coin, they also can add up to hefty revenue for the city. Unfortunately, the Department of Administrative Hearings was unable to provide us with any data falling under this section of the municipal code.</p><p><strong>In sum&hellip;</strong></p><p>In sum, it sounds like taxi drivers are hit with tickets more than other drivers are &ndash; whether they be pulled over by a cop, caught by a red light camera, or later receive a &ldquo;fly ticket&rdquo; in the mail. And it&rsquo;s not just city agents that are keeping an eye on them. They&rsquo;re subject to scrutiny by other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians who call 311 and can report violations.</p><p>The industry, too, has some interest in keeping the worst drivers off the road. Responsible taxi affiliation companies keep track of how safe drivers are, because they don&rsquo;t want to foot higher insurance premiums for the unsafe ones.</p><p>&ldquo;We have to be at an ultimate &ndash; or a heightened &ndash; level of awareness a lot of times,&rdquo; said Smith, the cab driver, &ldquo;which is stressful.&rdquo;</p><p>But Dan&rsquo;s question asked for a number &ndash; how many times cabs are pulled over. And unfortunately we couldn&rsquo;t get that for him. Still, we hope this helps lift the veil a bit on the complicated world of taxi rules and code enforcement.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">@oyousef</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">@WBEZoutloud</a></em></p></p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 11:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/how-often-are-cabs-pulled-over-and-what-109734 Bike culture 101 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/bike-culture-101-107219 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/travelinknu%3AFlickr.jpg" title="Bike the Drive Chicago, May 2011. (Flickr/Doug Knuth)" /></div><p>Just in time for summer bike season, Walk Score (the company best known for rating the walkability of neighborhoods across the country) awarded Chicago the number 10 spot on its list of&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.walkscore.com/2013/05/bike-score-expands-to-100-cities/" target="_blank">most bikeable American cities</a>. Sure, we lag behind Portland, San Francisco and New York, but we beat Austin! Hipsters unite.</p><p>Of course, not all Chicago cyclists are hip young people riding vintage Schwinns or fixie conversions with neon aerospokes. Some are newbies (a.k.a the people who had no idea what I was referring to just now), while others are hard-core athletes accustomed to flying down Lakeshore Drive at maximum velocity. We&#39;re a diverse bunch, and our many&nbsp;<a href="http://chicagoist.com/2013/05/14/chicago_is_10th_on_most_bikeable_ci.php" target="_blank">varied bicycle-friendly neighborhoods</a> prove it.&nbsp;</p><p>So, what are you waiting for?&nbsp;</p><h2><strong>Meet up&nbsp;</strong></h2><p><a href="http://www.thechainlink.org" target="_blank">The Chainlink</a>- an online community for Chicagoland cyclists to share info on bikes, routes, rides and events.</p><p><a href="http://handlebarchicago.com/HB/" target="_blank">Handlebar</a>- A restaurant/bar that supports bicycle advocacy. Come for the beautiful beer garden, stay for the best veggie brunch in the city.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="https://chicagocyclingclub.org/Home/About" target="_blank">Chicago Cycling Club</a>- Become a member! Upcoming events include a ride through the 45th Ward (Parks &amp; Burgers) and a Memorial Day 35-mile round trip to Frankfort, IL via the Old Plank Bicycle Path.</p><p><a href="http://chicagocriticalmass.org" target="_blank">Critical Mass Chicago</a>- Group bike rides start at Daley Plaza at 5:30 p.m. on the last Friday of each month. Free, fun and perfect for meeting fellow cyclists.</p><p><a href="http://www.bikethedrive.org" target="_blank">&quot;Bike the Drive&quot; 2013</a>- May 26. Register for five hours of car-free biking down Lakeshore Drive. Best summer kickoff party ever.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://chicagonakedride.org" target="_blank">10th Annual World Naked Bike Ride</a>- June 8. If you dare.&nbsp;</p><h2><strong>Gear up/Tune up</strong></h2><p><a href="http://www.workingbikes.org" target="_blank">Working Bikes Cooperative</a>&nbsp;(gold star for incredible community service)&nbsp;- Pilsen&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.roscoevillagebikes.com" target="_blank">Roscoe Village Bikes</a>- in the heart of Roscoe Village</p><p><a href="http://www.heritagebicycles.com/pages/about-us" target="_blank">Heritage Bicycles</a> (with general store/coffeeshop) - Lakeview</p><p><a href="http://www.boulevardbikeshop.com" target="_blank">Boulevard Bikes</a> and <a href="http://bikelanechicago.com" target="_blank">The Bike Lane</a>- both in Logan Square</p><p><a href="http://comradecycles.com" target="_blank">Comrade Cycles</a>- Ukranian Village</p><p><a href="http://www.rapidtransitcycles.com" target="_blank">Rapid Transit Cycle Stop</a>- Wicker Park and UIC</p><h2><strong>Ride like the wind</strong></h2><p>The city&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-25/news/ct-met-bike-sharing-divvy-0425-20130425_1_bike-sharing-program-self-service-docking-station-heavy-duty-bikes" target="_blank">Divvy bike-sharing program</a> launches in June, with 4,000 three-speed bikes painted &quot;Chicago blue&quot; available at 400 docking stations and priced at $7 per day. Hopefully, this new infrastructure will continue to grow Chicago&#39;s budding cyclist community and convert more city streets to be bike-friendly to all.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.walkscore.com/bike-score-methodology.shtml" target="_blank">Bike Score</a> didn&#39;t take this new program into account when adding up Chicago&#39;s &quot;bikeability&quot; numbers, but their methodology did come up with the 25 best neighborhoods for cyclists based on bike parking, on-street lanes and road connectivity:</p><p>East Ukrainian Village<br />Ukrainian Village<br />Wicker Park<br />Illinois Medical District<br />Noble Square<br />East Pilsen<br />Margate Park<br />West Loop Gate<br />Sheridan Park<br />Fulton River District<br />University Village / Little Italy<br />Tri-Taylor<br />Bucktown<br />Palmer Square<br />Near East Side<br />Uptown<br />Ravenswood<br />Pilsen<br />Greektown<br />Streeterville<br />Buena Park<br />South Loop<br />Lincoln Park<br />Near West Side</p><p>Are you as surprised as I am to not see Logan Square on this list? Where are your favorite places to meet, shop and ride in Chicago?</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank"> Twitter</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 17 May 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/bike-culture-101-107219 Dearborn Street gets two-way bike lane http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/dearborn-street-gets-two-way-bike-lane-104231 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/IMG_2918.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F70132833?" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicago Department of Transportation has begun work on a new bike lane on downtown Chicago&#39;s Dearborn Street &ndash; but this is no ordinary bike lane.</p><p>For the first time in Chicago, bicyclists will have their own stoplight, and there are sensors in the road that know when cars are at the intersection.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s also got two lanes going in either direction, buffered by a lane for parking.</p><p>That does mean one less lane for car traffic.</p><p>Gabe Klein heads the Chicago Department of Transportation. He says this 12-block stretch of Dearborn street is more &ldquo;rational.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The cars are flushing through the intersections just like they used to with two lanes versus three [lanes],&quot; Klein said.</p><p>&quot;But we do notice, again anecdotally, that speeds are down.&quot;</p><p>When it comes to bike-friendly cities Ethan Spotts of Active Transportation Alliance said Chicago is leading the way.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve seen that folks in Portland and Seattle and New York and Seattle are getting a little jealous, which is great,&rdquo; Spotts said.</p><p>The two-way bike lane runs from Polk Street north to Kinsie Street, which is about a mile and a half long. It&#39;s all part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s plan to add 100 miles of bike lanes to Chicago&#39;s streets by the end of his term in 2015.</p><p>The lane on Dearborn Street is expected to be ready for cyclists by the end of next week, as long as everything rolls along smoothly.</p></p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 10:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/dearborn-street-gets-two-way-bike-lane-104231 Map: Where are Chicago's bike dooring accidents happening? http://www.wbez.org/news/map-where-are-chicagos-bike-dooring-accidents-happening-102939 <p><p><em>Updated: 10/12/2012 at 12:12 pm</em></p><p>The <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/cyclist-killed-near-north-side-should-all-bike-lanes-be-protected-102934">death of cyclist</a>&nbsp;Neill Townsend&nbsp;in downtown Chicago Friday morning who, to prevent being doored by a parked car, ended up being hit by a passing semi truck, has drawn outcry from individuals inside and outside the biking community, as Chicagoans grapple with how to best prevent these accidents in the future.</p><p>Many commented on WBEZ&#39;s story about the accident that an increase in protected bike lanes in the city would prevent doorings, while others weren&#39;t sure that a protected bike lane would make much of a difference, and that alertness on the part of bikers and drivers would do the most to prevent accidents.&nbsp;</p><p>WBEZ obtained data from&nbsp;the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety from 2009 through September 7, 2012 of this year, to see exactly where these dooring accidents are occurring -- and what type of accidents they result in. There have been 577 reported doorings during that time period.</p><p>Observations from the map below are relatively clear: doorings most commonly occur on diagonal streets and intersections, particularly Milwaukee and Lincoln Avenues, as well as on Clark Street, all of which are heavy thoroughfares for commuters.</p><p>Additionally, a huge majority of doorings happen on the North Side of the city, which may say more about where Chicago&#39;s population of bikers lives than the danger of North Side streets, though there are also small pockets of accidents on the South Side, like in the Hyde Park neighborhood where the University of Chicago is located.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dooring-key.jpg" title="" /></div> <style type="text/css"> #map-canvas { width:620px; height:500px; }</style> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/api/js?sensor=false"> </script><script type="text/javascript"> var map; var layerl1; var layerl0; function initialize() { map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById('map-canvas'), { center: new google.maps.LatLng(41.90432124806036, -87.64068603515625), zoom: 11, mapTypeId: google.maps.MapTypeId.ROADMAP }); layerl1 = new google.maps.FusionTablesLayer({ query: { select: "'geometry'", from: '5409567' }, map: map }); layerl0 = new google.maps.FusionTablesLayer({ query: { select: "'Location'", from: '5394292' }, map: map }); } google.maps.event.addDomListener(window, 'load', initialize); </script><div id="map-canvas">&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AoAq-yszkAfjdDJFVnBYbzllT2pnZjY4aVIxYjYwRWc&transpose=0&headers=1&range=A1%3AF2&gid=12&pub=1","options":{"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"vAxes":[{"title":"Number of doorings","useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":"pretty","viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":"pretty","viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"series":{"0":{"color":"#4a86e8"},"1":{"color":"#a4c2f4"},"3":{"color":"#f9cb9c"},"4":{"color":"#666666"},"5":{"color":"#b7b7b7"}},"title":"Weather, roadway and lighting conditions when doorings happen","booleanRole":"certainty","legendTextStyle":{"color":"#222","fontSize":"9"},"animation":{"duration":0},"legend":"right","hAxis":{"title":"Types of conditions","useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":null,"viewWindow":null,"maxValue":null},"tooltip":{},"isStacked":false,"width":600,"height":371},"state":{},"view":{"columns":[{"calc":"emptyString","type":"string","sourceColumn":0},0,1,2,3,4,5]},"chartType":"ColumnChart","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script><p>Here&#39;s a chart of under what conditions doorings are taking place. The majority are under optimal conditions -- clear skies, daylight and no rain or ice, indicating that doorings are less the result of potentially dangerous scenarios, and more dependent on human action and behavior.</p><p><em>Elliott Ramos and Alex Keefe contributed reporting to this story.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Oct 2012 15:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/map-where-are-chicagos-bike-dooring-accidents-happening-102939 Bikers who text might not be long for Chicago http://www.wbez.org/story/bikers-who-text-might-not-be-long-chicago-92704 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-30/texting_flickr_jillianyork.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some Chicago aldermen are schedule to debate Monday whether the city should fine cyclists who text on their cell phones. Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-alderman-wants-crackdown-distracted-cycling-92001">is proposing the ordinance</a> before the Committee of Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.</p><p>Laurino said she was inspired to look into the issue after the former mayor of Bogotá, Enrique Peñalosa, attended a committee meeting. Peñalosa was in town to discuss the successful bus program he had implemented in Bogotá and Laurino found that they were both proponants of cycling. During transportation discussions, other aldermen brought up texting while cycling as an issue they were concerned with. Laurino then began to pay closer attention to the issue around the city, and found that she saw it repeatedly, citing Milwaukee Avenue as one street with consistently guilty bikers.</p><p>"Really, I didn't think there'd be a need for such a commonsense ordinance, but as it turns out, people are texting while they're biking," said Laurino.</p><p>Potential fines would range from $20 to $50 for a first offense, $50 to $75 for a second offense, and up to $100 for a third offense. Laurino said she has the support of the Active Transportation Alliance, as well as the Metropolitan Planning Council. If the ordinance passes committee, it would go to the full City Council on Wednesday.</p><p>"We're just looking to level the playing field here," said Laurino. "This is certainly something that will affect bicyclists, same as it currently affects motorists."</p><p>Laurino said the ordinance wouldn't apply to bikers who had stopped to text, and that she's not expecting much blowback from the ordinance, unless of course, "I get it from an angry cyclist."</p></p> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bikers-who-text-might-not-be-long-chicago-92704 One cyclist's tale of a near-miss http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-06/one-cyclists-tale-near-miss-91551 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-06/5006778937_51079f4ebe_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The weather may be cooler but it’s great for those biking to work.&nbsp; That may not be good news for everyone, though. Plenty of drivers are less than thrilled about sharing the road with cyclists. Throw both into a retail corridor – add in some pedestrians – that’s a situation that can range from annoying to deadly. Former <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> producer Kristin Moo shares her story – about an eye-opening near-miss as she cycled through Chicago.<br> <br> The enemy almost took me down the other day.<br> <br> You know the type: the plump boomer sitting high in his bright-red gas-guzzling 4x4, confident that he’ll survive any battle with a crunchable sedan, or one of those damn arrogant cyclists. He’s probably never walked farther than the distance between his garage and back door… And what’s he need that thing for, anyway? The bed was empty and his mudflaps were pristine.<br> <br> And here I was, walking to the gym, in the crosswalk at a quiet 4-way stop. To his credit, the Big Man slowed nearly to a stop… giving me the confidence to continue…as he rolled into a right turn: directly At. Me.<br> <br> I screamed, he stopped, his grille touching my arm, the egregiousness of his error made clear by the staring passerby.<br> <br> I was shaking with anger and fear. I could have been killed.<br> <br> But this is no rant. It’s a confession. I am also the enemy.<br> <br> I challenge drivers approaching a stop too fast by walking slowly into crosswalks, glaring into their eyes.<br> <br> At the same time, I sometimes drive a silver Honda Civic. I believe the real speed limit on Lake Shore Drive is sixty. I step on the gas from half-a-block away when I see the flashing hand counting down 5-4-3-2, yes!<br> <br> I curse the lady with the stroller who rushes into the crosswalk just as MY light is about to turn green, and the bikers blithely gliding by stop signs as I patiently wait, complete stop.<br> <br> And when I ride my fuchsia hybrid bike 8 miles to and from work, my enmity knows no bounds. I ride on the lakefront path and seethe at the futility of reminding joggers to stay to the right and for the love of god, take a look over your shoulder before you move left!<br> <br> Then from the path to home, I rage at the cyclists who do the things that give all bikers a bad image, the weaving and darting, and riding on the wrong side of the road or the wrong way on a one-way street.<br> <br> And there are the drivers that zip by me, too close for comfort, then cut me off to make a turn. So I hop on the sidewalk and cruise through the crosswalk, then slip back into traffic—ain’t nothin’ gonna slow me down.<br> <br> In fact, earlier this summer, I rode swiftly past a stop sign, my eye on the ageing green light a block away. A man was stepping into the crosswalk and yelled: “Hey, stop signs are for you, too!”<br> <br> He was right. For the rest of my ride I kicked myself for not stopping to apologize. I <em>do</em> usually <em>slow down</em> at stop signs… I rationalize it as the cyclist version of a rolling stop—everyone does it, right?<br> <br> That brings me back to the man in the red truck.<br> <br> The shock of the encounter had me in tears. The man leapt from his leather perch to confront me on the sidewalk…<br> <br> And he apologized. Almost as distraught as I was—“I’m a firefighter!” he said, like he should have known better. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you, are you okay?” I told him I was fine, just shaken.<br> <br> “Give me a hug,” he said. “My name is Bill.”<br> <br> I stopped crying, suddenly embarrassed at the drama I had created over a tap on the shoulder.<br> <br> <em>Maybe</em> I could have died… but my life wouldn’t have been the only one ruined.<br> <br> <em>Maybe</em> we aren’t enemies after all—just a city full of people—all a few seconds, a glance, and the push of a brake away from catastrophe…or merely going on with the rest of our hurried lives.</p></p> Tue, 06 Sep 2011 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-06/one-cyclists-tale-near-miss-91551 Group wants more kids biking to school http://www.wbez.org/story/group-wants-more-kids-biking-school-91086 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-26/kids biking_Flickr_Tim and Ann.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With back-to-school time here, the League of Illinois Bicyclists is making a push to get more kids to bike to school.</p><p>It cites data showing that the number of U.S. kids biking to school plummeted from 42 percent in 1969 to just 16 percent in 2001. The bicyclists' league wants to reverse that trend.</p><p>Benefits include burning off calories, reducing car traffic and saving gas.</p><p>The group offers tips, including the suggestion that parents help pick a route and riding along on a practice run to make sure it's safe.</p><p>Some schools also offer programs such as "walking school buses" or "bike trains" to have adults accompany kids on bikes.</p><p>The group's website has bike safety tips for kids at bikelib.org.</p></p> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 15:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/group-wants-more-kids-biking-school-91086 Chicago's two-wheeled revolution http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-27/chicagos-two-wheeled-revolution-88377 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-27/bikerswaiting.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With Mayor Rahm Emmanuel saying he’s committed to making the "City that Works" the most bike-friendly in the country, Chicago is experiencing a two-wheeled revolution. That’s music to Greg Borzo’s ears, author of <em>Where to Bike: Chicago</em>, a guide to Chicagoland’s best cycle routes. Borzo joined WBEZ to talk about the pleasures and challenges of being a bike rider in Chicago.<br> <br> Also, WBEZ took to the streets to find out Chicagoans' favorite cycle routes, and heard stories of cycle accidents and praise for the new protected cycle routes.</p></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 13:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-27/chicagos-two-wheeled-revolution-88377 Switching gears: more commuters bike to work http://www.wbez.org/story/fitness-amp-nutrition/switching-gears-more-commuters-bike-work <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//bike04.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One way <em>National Geographic </em>staffers in Washington, D.C., can get to know their company's CEO is to take him up on his long-standing offer: to go for a lunchtime bike ride.</p><p>"Anyone still downstairs? OK, so we ready to go, guys?" National Geographic Society CEO John Fahey asks a group of about 20 employees</p><p>Fahey, an avid biker, says he's just trying to encourage a little exercise -- and he wants the opportunity to get to know folks informally. As the group makes the 15-mile trek to Hains Point along the Potomac River and back, Fahey makes a point of chatting with everyone, staffers say.</p><p>At <em>National Geographic </em>-- which is a hub of outdoorsy, adventure-seeking types who think nothing of biking busy city streets -- lots of the staffers who join Fahey for the lunchtime rides also use their bikes to get to and from work every day.</p><p>"I've been riding in for 19 years," says senior photo editor Dan Westergren, adding that he has definitely noticed the boom -- especially as bike paths and bike lanes along city streets have improved.</p><p>Westergren's commute is a combined 12 miles to and from home. And he says, given all the biking he does, he doesn't need a gym membership to stay fit.</p><p>"Really, to build it into your daily routine by commuting for me has just been the best thing," he says.</p><p><strong>Cycling Culture <br /></strong></p><p>If you bike to work in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago or San Francisco, you're part of a boom. Cycling has at least tripled over the past two decades in these -- and other -- big cities across the U.S.</p><p>"It's almost like a snowball effect," says researcher John Pucher of Rutgers University. "People see other people cycling and they say, 'Wow!' " As part of a three-year research project for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pucher has completed a preliminary report that documents the increase in biking in nine major North American cities.</p><p>"It's almost become a cultural phenomenon," Pucher says. "It's become the 'in' thing to do." For many city dwellers, it's a money saver, a time saver and a way to sneak in daily exercise.</p><p>Research shows that the extra physical activity that people get from walking and biking to work or school is not offset by less recreational activity.</p><p>"[Active commuters] actually double the amount of their total physical activity," says Pucher. And as a result, Pucher says cities with lots of "active" commuters tend to be healthier. The most recent evidence comes from a study Pucher and his colleagues published in the <em>American Journal of Public Health</em>.</p><p>They found that the U.S. cities with the highest rates of walking and cycling to work have obesity rates that are 20 percent lower and diabetes rates that are 23 percent lower -- compared with U.S. cities with the lowest rates of walking and cycling.</p><p><strong>Just 'Hide The Bike Grease'<br /></strong></p><p>There are, of course, a few daily obstacles. Take the weather. "In the winter it's just gross sometimes with the ice," staffer Julia Yordanova says. And there are also the dangers of traffic. "It's the cab drivers," says Jonathan Irish.</p><p>Not to mention the need to try to fit in a shower at the office. "You just try to hide the bike grease on your calf as you're sitting in a meeting," says Barbara Noe, an editor at Travel Books.</p><p>But hey, if the office culture tolerates a little sweat on the brow -- or grease on the calf -- take it a sign of good health. That's the way Pucher sees it.</p><p>Pucher says, "Most people understand that walking and cycling is healthy. They don't think as something they could integrate into their daily lives." Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1291073355?&gn=Switching+Gears%3A+More+Commuters+Bike+To+Work&ev=event2&ch=1128&h1=Health+Headlines+Newsletter,Fitness+%26+Nutrition,Health,Your+Health,Science,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Storiesrepublish,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=131539669&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20101129&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=121027244&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sun, 28 Nov 2010 23:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/fitness-amp-nutrition/switching-gears-more-commuters-bike-work