After-dark cyclists need lights

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I'm all about being green — including bicycling instead of using a car. I've been tolerant of Oak Park cyclists and do all I can to look out for them. But tonight was the last straw, and I can no longer keep quiet.

On my way home from work at 7:45 on Home Avenue, I saw an adult cyclist in dark clothing in front of me with absolutely no reflective gear, lights or reflectors. Why is this legal?

To his credit, he went up on the sidewalk when I got close. I rolled down my window and said, "It would help if you had lights; I almost didn't see you." We ended up at the red light together, and I said, "I'm concerned for your safely; it would help if you had lights."

He snidely retorted, "What's the matter, couldn't you see me?" and something else derogatory.

My biggest fear as a car driver is hurting a cyclist, and no matter whose fault it was, I would be held responsible. I'm tired of the cyclists who have such disrespect for the machine that could be their demise and the arrogance toward its driver.

Can't Oak Park, at a minimum, pass and enforce a simple law that cyclists have to ride with lights after dark?

Sara Muriello

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Another Runner from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: November 16th, 2013 10:21 PM

@Sara - we have many laws that OP's drivers don't follow and our cops don't enforce. Why add more ignored laws for cyclists? Do you stop at crosswalks and the sidewalk before exiting an alley? Do you use your cell phone hands free while driving? Look both ways before hitting the gas? If so, God bless but you're in the vast minority. I've seen 100x more clueless drivers than cyclists in OP. Many close calls with cars, none with a bike. Drive responsibly, share the road. Too many idiots.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 16th, 2013 11:01 AM

Cont. everything will be copecetic! But this dissing of cyclists is getting old. @ Done: You sound very hostile towards cyclists. You might explore that. Do you not exercise and it triggers feelings of guilt? Don't project your crap onto cyclists!

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 16th, 2013 10:58 AM

The main problem as I see it is that drivers speed and then express shock that there is a cyclist sharing the road. A driver should ALWAYS assume there might be someone present on the street! I think it is such asshattery to speed in residential areas. I mean, forget about cyclists. What about children exiting cars or a homeowner raking leaves and stepping off the curb briefly--should they wear flashing lights, too? Drive slowly, don't whip around corners and veer into the middle of the street &

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 16th, 2013 10:56 AM

It's funny that drivers are so concerned about seeing a cyclist but maybe if they stayed where they belong, it would be a moot point. I mean, it's not uncommon for drivers to zoom down darkened side streets at night and sometimes veer into the middle of the street. How does a cyclist know if they are drunk or stoned or otherwise inebriated? How do we know they're not on the phone? I confronted some man in RF who appeared to be watching a movie on his phone and driving down the street.


Posted: November 16th, 2013 7:24 AM

Most of the bike laws are via the state of IL and are guided by statute. Village code doesn't say much locally. But drivers and bicyclists BOTH need to read up on the rules for bikes. As evidenced by the original letter and some of the comments here, there is a lot of ignorance out there. A good place to start is a quick google search of "IL bike laws."


Posted: November 15th, 2013 10:12 PM

I would love to see some clear statements on what is expected of bikes and bike riders - requiring lights would be a great idea. I drive a car and ride my bike, as do my children. Many bike riders are sensible but the lack of clear rules leaves some bikers riding recklessly. I don't want to kill anybody - not even the "bad" bikers, but I've had a few close calls.


Posted: November 15th, 2013 2:18 PM

To wrap this up; I'd like to thank all the friendly drivers and cyclists who do follow every rule of the road. There are a few; I think.

Michael from South Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 3:39 PM

Wow is all I have to say. "Done" you are such an angry troll. I'm gonna keep riding despite your anger. For the record, I do own a car and choose to ride. :D

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 3:17 PM

Hey, Michael - I have yet to see any bicyclist stop for a sign or a light unless actual traffic makes them stop. And the day I see a cyclist get hit going through an intersection because they didn't stop will be the day I forget the number to 911. Nice "I do the right thing even no one else does" comment, jackass.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 2:55 PM

True story. I saw two cyclist collide and get into an argument in NYC. One of the cyclist was going the wrong way down a one way street and the other cyclist ran the stop sign.

Driver and biker from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 2:54 PM

@Gizmo: Sounds like me like he had no choice after he was run off the road by the driver of the car. Also sounds like she thinks the sidewalk is where he belongs. Also sounds like he got back on the road and she took the opportunity to continue her harassment of the cyclist.

Zero Value Comment, Troll from Reality  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 2:46 PM

@Michael from SOP: I think you are the only cyclist who does stop at stop signs in OP. Unless you are still in college, why don't you cyclist people grow up and buy cars?


Posted: November 13th, 2013 2:31 PM

Umm, actually Gizmodog, bikes can ride on the sidewalk on's not in a business district.


Posted: November 13th, 2013 2:22 PM

"the cyclist obviously heard her coming and pulled onto the sidewalk" Driver & Biker, please remember that another law stipulates that bicyclists above the age of 12 cannot ride on the sidewalk. Bicyclists like car drivers should adhere to all the laws.

Michael from South Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 2:09 PM

Hey "Done from Oak Park" I do stop at stop signs and lights. Nice zero value comment, Troll.


Posted: November 13th, 2013 12:51 PM

I think the real story here is that cyclist stopped at a red light long enough to have a conversation with you.


Posted: November 13th, 2013 11:15 AM

Driver, that was my first thought was that it's not only petty but holier-than-thou to write a letter complaining. Let it go and do some yoga. There are good and bad cyclists. Good and bad drivers. The constant bickering and blame gets old. Everybody has a right to be out there using the road. Both sides are in the wrong here and examples of what not to do.

Lori M from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 11:13 AM

Seeing cyclists at night with no lights and dark clothing happens to me every evening. What would happen if we all drove without headlights? And cyclists really need to unplug and stop texting as well as drivers.

Driver and biker from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 10:10 AM

Seems more about the bruised ego and resentment of someone who had their road sovereignty challenged. While I don't advocate night biking w/o lights, the cyclist obviously heard her coming and pulled onto the sidewalk. But this apparently wasn't sufficient deference to this self-appointed queen of the road in her shiny metal box, hence the fingerwagging lecture and self-righteous letter. The arrogance and presumption is on the letter writer's part, that much is clear her language and actions.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 9:12 AM

"I ride my bike, and I agree that cyclist should use lights and reflective gear,wear helmets, obey traffic signals. But Drivers please hang up the mobile devices." Michael - you agree that cyclists should obey traffic signals - but do YOU actually stop at signs and red lights while on your bike, much less when you drive? I think I know the answer.


Posted: November 13th, 2013 8:35 AM

State law already requires a front headlight and a rear reflector when riding at night. That said, it has been getting dark earlier with the time change and not every bicyclist remembers or even knows the law. It's also a driver's duty to slow down to a safe speed to avoid bikes--riding legally or otherwise. Let's everybody be respectful out there on the roads. Even if you feel the other side isn't doing their part.

Michael from South OP  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 8:19 AM

I ride my bike, and I agree that cyclist should use lights and reflective gear,wear helmets, obey traffic signals. But Drivers please hang up the mobile devices. That call or text isn't that important. We can coexist

Dan Hefner from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 7:13 AM

Sara thanks for your letter. There is little or no enforcement of laws regarding bicycle safety in OP> The OPPD has bigger "fish to fry". (see weekly crime report). I cannot remember seeing a bicyclist come to a complete stop at a Stop sign which is required by law. The free spirit cyclists insist on "sharing the road" but abdicate their responsibility for obeying the traffic laws! No one wants to injure a cyclist. It is time for cyclists to accept the fact that they must obey all traffic laws.


Posted: November 13th, 2013 5:37 AM

Sometime recently I read an article in the crime reports that noted the perp was riding a bike without a headlight. So, apparently one is needed, but the law is probably rarely enforced by the PD. As far as rear reflectors those also are required, and enforcement of that law is a minimum that can be expected. A red reflector on the bike would have helped you in the situation you found yourself in with this fool.

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