Mike Keating said:
I just did a blog post on this on www.ILBicycleLaw.com. Hit the link to go to the post.
I've been concerned for a while that Bridgeport/Canaryville/Pilsen is seeing a greater influx in
I haven't looked up the data, but I have a hunch that there is a lower population density in Bridgeport/Canaryville/Pilsen than on the north side. As far as I'm concerned this is a great thing, as there tends to be fewer cars on the road, fewer cabs double-parked in the bike lane, fewer drivers trying to door me, and less traffic chaos overall. On the north side, I've often encountered a palpable feeling of entitlement that I haven't found in south-side working class neighborhoods, either. Sure, drivers in B/C/P might still door you because they don't know to check their mirrors, but at least they'll apologize instead of yelling at you for dinging their Jetta and interrupting their iPhone conversation... aah, stereotypes :)
I take issue with the comment that the B/C/P areas are somehow ill-equipped for bike traffic, however. 26th, Archer, Canal, and Wabash make bike travel easy in Chinatown; Pilsen has 18th, 21st, Blue Island, Loomis, Damen, and Halsted specifically marked for cycling, not to mention hidden gems like Racine, 16th, and Canalport. Travel through and out of Bridgeport is facilitated with the Lyman/Loomis pass, Racine, Archer (for the brave), Halsted, 29th, and 33rd. The streets just east of Halsted (Emerald and Union) are great options for anyone squeamish about traffic on Halsted.
With a solid infrastructure in place, I can only assume you mean motorists are underinformed when you hint that the Bridgeport, Canaryville, and Pilsen communities are unprepared for cyclists. Sure, there are plenty of drivers who don't know how to safely share the road with cyclists, but I think it's obvious that this problem is not specific to the south side. Across the city (and state and country), improved education and enforcement would do wonders to improve the safety of vulnerable road users, but I'm not holding my breath.
The cyclist was found in Bronzeville, however, a neighborhood with even fewer cycling amenities than the near south side ones you mentioned. I try not to travel on Pershing; 43rd to the south is much calmer, and 33rd to the north has marked sharrows. The bike lanes on King Drive and Oakwood are nice, but they're the only ones in Bronzeville. I've encountered more than my share of ignorant drivers on both of these streets, too, including one fine gentleman who invited me to do something I won't reiterate in a public forum. In spite the IIT cycling team and easy access to the LFP, the Bronzeville zeitgeist doesn't seem to have a place for cyclists, and we should not ignore race or infrastructure when we ask why. And should we laugh or cry at the irony of being killed in Bronzeville on MLK day? It's almost as sad as Tyler Fabeck being hit and killed by a Prius on Earth Day.
Katie, I have no idea who it was, but I'll keep my ear to the ground in Bridgeport. I was initially horrified that it could have been my thesis advisor, who commutes between Bronzeville and Hyde Park, but I received an e-mail from him this morning.
This is terrible news indeed, and my thoughts are with the rider's loved ones.