Cyclists share the road, not the rules

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Illinois recently introduced a new specialty license plate. The plate has a sign "Share the Road," with a person riding a bicycle. The motto at the bottom of the license plate states "same rights, same rules."

The motto is a joke! In Oak Park our free-spirited cyclers do whatever they want without any regard to traffic safety. They blow through red lights and stop signs at high speeds. I saw one woman pulling a small trailer with a child aboard go through a red light and she was t-boned by a van.

The vast majority of bicyclists have no regard for traffic laws. The sad truth is that accidents caused by these law-breakers usually end up costing the motorist.

The motto should be changed to "Hit me and I'll sue you."

Dan Hefner

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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OP Resident #864 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 14th, 2013 7:21 PM

@JRock - funny b/c I thought Oak Park has some of the most reckless, inconsiderate drivers I've encountered anywhere. Just try crossing the street pushing a stroller and see how many idiots actually speed up. I'm also amazed how many people blatantly blow through stop signs. Understand the police have bigger problems to deal with, but ticketing some of these idiots is a better alternative to increasing taxes.

JRock from Elmhurst  

Posted: July 14th, 2013 7:12 PM

While Dan has made a gross over-generalization, I will agree with his basic premise--having lived in Oak Park for 3 years, I agree that a high percentage of our local cyclist think they are above the law. It's not only dangerous but annoying--I shouldn't have to work my way around the same cyclist four times in one trip because he/she has ignored every stop sign that I've stopped at. It's true that many drivers stink, but the percentage is much much lower.

driver and bike rider  

Posted: December 1st, 2012 10:22 PM

Common Sense - it takes too much energy to stop and start your bike at stop signs???? Basic physics will tell you it takes more energy for a car to stop and start. I ride my bike a lot and I stop or at least slow down enough to make sure no cars.

DrewM  

Posted: November 27th, 2012 5:35 PM

Jim, all good advice (though you can do this with drop bars if config'd correctly). Unfortunately the driver you need to keep clear of is often behind you or not paying attention. Ride defensively and if necessary take the lane.

Run In Street 2  

Posted: November 27th, 2012 11:24 AM

I used to run on the sidewalk but was twice hit by cars - one exiting a blind alley and another turning in an intersection. Both times I was in the crosswalk. I can assure you, it's safer to run in the street.

Jim  

Posted: November 27th, 2012 7:55 AM

Urban Bike Survival Rule No. 3: Always wear a helmet. Even if you land on your back or shoulder, the head "snaps" toward the ground and bounces nicely. Better to have the helmet take the impact.

Jim  

Posted: November 27th, 2012 7:51 AM

Urban Bike Survival Rule No. 2: Have your hands around the brake lever. When it goes wrong, you don't have time to reach for the brakes. That pretty much leaves out "drop" handle bars.

Jim from the Biker  

Posted: November 27th, 2012 7:48 AM

Urban Bike Survival Rule No. 1: Make eye-to-eye contact with a driver whose car presents a danger. If you don't, believe that he or she doesn't see you. Driveways and alleys are dangers as are intersections. And parked cars pulling into traffic.

Oak Park Biker from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 8:32 PM

ran a stop sign and hit me. My bike was basically wrecked. Driver had no insurance. Safe roads require everyone to pay attention and act like human beings. It shouldn't be cars against bikes...we have to work together.

Oak Park Biker from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 8:29 PM

My family is a "one car" family, and I ride my bike to work in Oak Park every day. I use lots of safety gear (extra lights, good helmet, gloves, etc.). I have taken several "safe cyclist" classes in the past. Two weeks ago a person driving a car

violet aura  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 8:16 PM

Kind of bizarre to read all the hostility towards cyclists in so-called liberal OPRF. Hey drivers, OPRF is very bike-friendly. How about you WALK OR BIKE to Whole Foods insteand of taking the pollution machine?

DrewM  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 7:46 PM

Last 1: I was hit on my bike by a car making an illegal left turn just last week. I am lucky to be alive. Per this I should generalize that all motorists have no regard for traffic laws. If I was at fault and hit the car, it's just a dent.

DrewM  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 7:40 PM

And for those advocating for cyclist insurance, when cars and bikes collide, think of where the greater risk of loss of life or limb lies. Cars are dangerous machines and if operated negligently, tend to result in great damage or loss of life.

DrewM  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 7:37 PM

I feel for all the drivers who fear for their lives at the hands of cyclists. @Beth, if you don't have room to pass -- don't. Don't pass. Chill out and wait. That cyclist has the same right to be there. The narrow street wasn't designed for cars

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 6:00 PM

Cont. (love that one--not. You have drivers who forget that pedestrians are trying to cross the street and all they care about is the on-coming traffic!). Cyclists cannot do the damage of a two-ton metal monster.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 5:57 PM

@M: MOST cyclists or a few? And in any case, if drivers are always being responsible, it doesn't matter. But how many drivers blow thru stop signs, whip around corners, only look in the direction of traffic when making a turn...CONT.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 5:53 PM

@Dan: Reread my comment. I was commanding YOU to always share the road.

Runner  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 5:53 PM

@Dan H, Many cyclists already are insured for both theft & accidents via their home owners policies. Or it can be added if it isn't standard. Stand-alone coverage for bicycles can be hard to come by though.

Runner  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 5:48 PM

@Common Sense Many places the law is that stop signs are to be treated as yield signs by cyclists. Not here. But the law has at least changed here so that you can now go through a red light if it fails to change & no traffic is coming.

Dan in Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 5:25 PM

@Violet. What do you mean you ALWAYS share the road? If you are sharing there must be someone to share with and I assume you are sharing the road with others that you see. You cannot share by yourself and I agree, ALWAYS drive sanely.

Common Sense  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 4:19 PM

However, if you are a cyclist and blow a stop sign in a busy area and get hit by a car you can't cry foul either. Too many cyclist don't know how to use judgement and too many car drivers are too busy texting/talking on phones.

Common Sense  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 4:15 PM

Drivers, cyclist, and pedestrians just all need to pay more attention to their surroundings and use common sense. It is unrealistic to expect cyclist to stop at every stop sign as it takes too much energy to stop and go on a bike unlike a car.

M on Ridgeland from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 3:53 PM

I see it all the time. Most cyclists do not stop at stop signs. Just happened at Jackson and East. I was stopped and was going to start going forward, but hesitated and this cyclist just smiled at me and blew right thru the stop. Rules apply to ALL!

BikerWalkerRunnerDriver  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 3:32 PM

When I bike I stick to side streets to avoid cars, but it seems like some drivers' heads explode at the very idea of bikers. If you find that OP streets are too narrow, that's hardly bikers' faults. Perhaps you should consider a narrower vehicle.

OP Transplant  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 3:00 PM

Weird how you all identify yourselves as drivers, runners, and cyclists. I've been know to do all three! You people love your divisions. Maybe we could all be a little more careful?

Dan Hefner from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 2:17 PM

Continued: In the best interest of all drivers, pedestrains and cyclists, lets have cyclists, get licenses, maintain libability insurance and take a safety course. After all, "Same rights,Same Rules"!!

Dan Hener from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 2:13 PM

The Illinois "Share the Road" license plate, uses as a motto, "Same Rights, Same Rules". The rules for operators of motor vehicles, inlcude a valid license to operate and vehicle, proof of insurance and completion of a drivers education courses.

Runner  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 11:15 AM

Unless you're in the bike lane then that's different. lol If you yelled out that you'd like to keep to your right, I probably would switch to the middle of the road just to be polite. Even if it's not the official "rules."

Runner  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 11:11 AM

@Violet I'm a cyclist, too...technically, you should "take the lane" on your bike to your left of parked cars, debris, etc. Pedestrians should be nearest the edge of the road to their left as possible. Peds outside, bikes inside

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 10:37 AM

@Runner: That's fine but if a cyclist is approaching you, please run in the middle of the street since YOU can see the traffic and I have to turn my head. Is that copecetic with you?

Runner  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 8:44 AM

And, yes, according to the law runners should be on the LEFT side of a two-way street if you're in the roadway.

Runner  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 8:41 AM

ROTS, it's not against the law to run in the street. If the road is busy, I'll get behind you that the sidewalk may be a better place for runners. But most of the runners I see in the street are on quiet side streets. They're fine. Quit being grumpy.

run on the sidewalk  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 8:23 AM

@Tom and Runner - you are breaking the law by running in the road by CHOICE - if you don't like the law, make an effort to change it. Don't expect others to accommodate you breaking the law.

Tom  

Posted: November 26th, 2012 7:08 AM

I run on the left side of the road so i can see the cars coming. There are far too many distracted drivers. I run on the road to prevent turned ankles from uneven sidewalks and streets are lit at night and early morning. Its a shame that drivers are complaining about all runners and cyclists. When I drive i will always make room for runners and cyclists.If I dont they can die. What is wrong with people writing that they would hit them? I hope the WJ has their IP addresses. I may need them.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 25th, 2012 8:44 PM

Beth, why don't you start riding yourself? Don't you live in crunchy granola OP? I love all these liberals who rag on cyclists.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 25th, 2012 8:41 PM

ATTENTION mad joggers: Do NOT jog on the left side of the road, por favor! I will not give an inch until I train youse people! I love it when you characters think I should go into the middle of the street when YOU'RE facing the traffic!

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 25th, 2012 8:40 PM

Cont. pedestrian or cyclist is present. ALWAYS drive sanely and it's all good. You seem a bit uptight--might I suggest a nice bike ride instead of that metal box? I will ride the sidewalks and smile broadly at your sour puss over and over and over...

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 25th, 2012 8:38 PM

@Dan: You can only share the road if you see me?! WTF?! ALWAYS share the road!!!! I love it when drivers think they only have to drive sanely if there are cyclists present. They whip around corners like bats out of hell and are shocked when a CONT.

resident  

Posted: November 25th, 2012 10:42 AM

Runners are another story. Many run in road & want cars to move over to the oncoming lane to go around. NOT SAFE! There are days when I really would like to hit a runner.

resident  

Posted: November 25th, 2012 10:37 AM

cars have to look out for runners & bikers because many runners & bikers disregard rules. Biking is a good thing but bikers need to follow the rules. I really don't want to hit them but I've had close calls when one darted out in front of me.

Runner  

Posted: November 25th, 2012 6:09 AM

Early mornings it's mostly the dog walkers & sprinklers that motivate me to run in the street. A few cars (who usually give plenty of room) are less trouble than a possible dog bite. It's up to the individual about which place they feel safer though.

run on the sidewalk  

Posted: November 24th, 2012 8:31 PM

Most runners I know prefer the street over the sidewalk despite the inconvenience to drivers and danger to themselves. It's insincere for runners to claim the sidewalk is too crowded and so they are forced onto the street.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2012 7:53 PM

Practicable went from a key word to a pretty key word. Runners yielding to autos in the street, not if the runners shouldnt be in the street to begin with for their own safety. If the sidewalks are empty,whats practicable ie.early morning.

Dave Coulter  

Posted: November 24th, 2012 1:01 PM

As a driver and cyclist I'd advise both sides to subscribe to the motto, "look out for the other guy" when on the road.I have seen cars and bikes blow through stop signs and lights. When I'm riding I try to be extra alert. Don't wanna get squashed!

Beth Puccinelli from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2012 10:04 AM

I will possibly rethink this..But for now..Bikers countinue to risk my life and my childs and to me that is simply unexceptable. Face the facts people...The roads are not big wide enough and most bike riders think they own it..I for one hope it snows

Beth Puccinelli from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2012 10:01 AM

I predict someone will be driving along with one of these %$^$%# new lisence plates when a biker rams into them and flys through the air. Who's at fault....Bike rider at least 90% do not follow rules..When you can do the speed limit/turn signals.....

Beth puccinelli from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2012 9:57 AM

You have waited for your turn to go and here comes a biker. almost T-Boning you. This and more happen to me everyday. There is a place to ride bikes..just not on most of these streets. they wern't made for it. Cont.

Beth Puccinelli from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2012 9:54 AM

You can't pull over and let the on coming car and yourself through because a biker is riding half way in the road and coming up on you....Then there are the 4 way stops and turning issues..they blow right through. You can't make your turn, even

Beth Puccinelli from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2012 9:51 AM

Dan, you took the words out of my mouth. Daily I risk running down a few bikers. Example..Most streets in OP are narrow. Cars are parked on both sides and two driving cars can often not get through. Now throw bike riders into the mix......You Cont...

Observer  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 9:35 PM

Everyone needs to follow the rules of the road. It is pointless to blame one group of people, especially when no group is better or worse at following the laws. Call the police when the law is broken; don't complain about it in the WJ.

Runner  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 5:11 PM

Sec. 11-1007. "Pedestrians walking on highways" Runners in the road note that you must yield to vehicles if you're not on the sidewalk. That "practicable" word shows up again about staying to the edge, too. Parked cars come to mind.

Runner  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 5:07 PM

Yep, "practicable" (ie usable and safe) is a pretty key word...there's a whole section farther down about in-line skaters being allowed in the street and laws for pedestrians who are in the roadway. (IL Vehicle Code for anyone wondering.)

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 3:30 PM

The key word is "practicable"? 625 11-1107, "Where a sidewalk is provided and its use practicable,it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway"

Runner  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 1:40 PM

That must ruin your splits if you're doing a speed workout! I would say (esp. for morning runners) that street outnumbers sidewalk 3-1 where I run. It's not usually a big deal b/c of less traffic. But, say, Jackson during evening rush is different.

run on the sidewalk  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 12:58 PM

yes i do run and yes, runners must be very careful at alleys. I come to nearly a complete stop because Oak Park is an urban area with cars, did the same when I lived in Lincoln Park. Runners are a problem in the street, please stay off, thank you.

This is Kissel  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 12:08 PM

I agree with Dan, my former employee Pico would still be alive today if he followed the rules of the road. For Pico's sake,all bikers, please obey stop signs.

Runner  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 11:26 AM

ROTS, you're obviously not a runner...cars leaving driveways & alleys are a huge danger to sidewalk pedestrians.

Tom  

Posted: November 23rd, 2012 7:55 AM

The Run On The Sidewalk guy needs to go for a run in the street. It is much safer for a runner in the street rather than the sidewalk. Even with a few wacko drivers out there. And texting drivers need to stop texting for everyones sake!

run on the sidewalk  

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 8:18 PM

Necessity of running in the street - zero - chances of getting hit by a car running on the sidewalk zero. Do the math. I responded to the complaint against cars vs runners. Cars don't have a choice where they operate, runners do.

Runner  

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 7:25 PM

I'm usually on the sidewalk, ROTS. Just letting you know other runners have their reasons & are allowed if they wish. Everybody needs to watch out for everybody out there. Trying to scapegoat some users of public streets, as pointed out, gets dumb.

DrewM  

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 6:39 PM

Dumb. Most car-bike accidents are the fault of the driver. And in many of those cases the cyclist is killed or maimed. If you see a cyclist riding recklessly, stay away and call the police just as I assume you would if you see a reckless driver.

run on the sidewalk  

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 5:20 PM

@runner - I call BS - you know runners want to run in the street, To make it some magnanimous gesture is BS. Stay on the sidewalk, even if you need to run on the parkway grass for 5 feet.

Runner  

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 11:59 AM

Run On The Sidewalk, the key word in state law for pedestrians on sidewalks is "practicable." Some runners give dog walkers and strollers the sidewalk so they run in the street. If in the road the law says left & near the side/shoulder.

Biker from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 9:04 AM

Hey this is fun! My turn: The vast majority of letter writers to the WJ make sweeping generalizations with no actual data to support them. The sad truth is these logic-breakers usually end up wasting the readers time.

run on the sidewalk  

Posted: November 21st, 2012 9:55 PM

All runners in the street are NOT abiding by the law. Please run on the sidewalks or on a track for everyone's sake.

Bruce Samuels from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2012 9:19 PM

Sure there are some cyclists that don't obey the rules but they are far outnumbered by drivers who are texting, or failing to stop at stop signs or failing to signal turns.

Cyclist  

Posted: November 21st, 2012 3:41 PM

I'm sorry your perception of us as cyclists is negative, Dan. Come on out and ride sometime. I think you'd find it eye-opening what the ratio of bad drivers to bad cyclists really is.

Dan in Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2012 12:00 PM

As a driver I sure don't want to bump into anybody running or on a bike. Seeing you is my responsibility, please help me by not dressing like a Ninja and consider wearing a reflective vest. I can only share the road if I can see you.

Michael from Oak Park   

Posted: November 21st, 2012 10:42 AM

I think Dan is wrong. The vast majority of cyclist do follow the Rules of the Road. I don't think any motorist can say they don't break any traffic laws each time they get behind the wheel (speeding, rolling through stop signs,etc).Share the road.

run on the sidewalk  

Posted: November 21st, 2012 7:05 AM

@Tom - The next time you see a car on the sidewalk call the police. My guess is that you run in the street, a dangerous Oak Park tradition that you do at your own peril.

Tom  

Posted: November 21st, 2012 5:59 AM

Your comment is scary Dan. Cars should watch out for bikers and runners. Drivers like you need to realize that people are on these roads. As a runner I have been close to being hit a number of times by careless drivers who are not paying attention; and by those that aim for me.

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