Wednesday, August 31, 2011

STOP for pedestrians in crosswalks

Have you heard the news? Drivers approaching a crosswalk with pedestrians present must now stop for them, and no longer merely “yield”. You haven’t heard that news? That’s not surprising; most people haven’t.
These cab drivers on Monroe Street near the Art Institute apparently have not heard about the new law.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
"When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right‑of‑way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger."
The difference is that “the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way” was changed to “the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way” (emphasis added).

First, what’s the difference between merely yielding and stopping-and-yielding for a pedestrian? The text of the law does not define it. Interpretations vary, but this is what we believe. Before, it was acceptable for a driver to swerve around pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk, and as long as the vehicle did not hit the pedestrian, they were abiding by the law. Near hits were OK.

Under the new law, we believe that when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, the driver must come to a complete stop before reaching the crosswalk (not in the middle of it!) to allow the pedestrian to cross safely.

That is, under the new law, the driver should respond to the presence of a pedestrian in a crosswalk as if a stop sign appeared magically. Wouldn’t that be fantastic, if a pedestrian could hit a button and make a hologram of a stop sign appear? Ahhh, we can dream, can’t we?

Back to reality.

A good piece about the issue published in Medill Reports Chicago includes video of pedestrians crossing Clark Street at St. James Place (2500 North) in Lincoln Park. It’s a great illustration of how common it is for cars fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

The new law was passed in July 2010, and there was a little media coverage about it, but not much since. There has been no PR campaign to spread the word to Illinois drivers, as far as we know. Locally, the Chicago Police Department has regular “sting” operations with the goal of issuing citations, but no routine enforcement from day to day.

Importantly, some official agencies haven’t even updated their websites to reflect the new law, including the city of Chicago. On the city’s page describing their Crosswalk Enforcement Initiatives, they refer multiple times to the need for drivers to “yield” to pedestrians, and the word “stop” is never used. Here’s an example:
"The crosswalk awareness initiatives involve an off-duty, undercover police officer posing as a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk.  If oncoming drivers don’t yield to the pedestrian—as required by law—the vehicle will be pulled over by a police spotter further down the street."
This website page should be updated to highlight and reinforce the existence of the new requirement to stop. Seemingly little details like this matter. If the city’s website doesn’t yet reflect the change, we question how much effort has been made to educate police officers who are supposed to be enforcing the current laws. Publishing old information is a failed opportunity to notify members of the media and the public about the new law.

Finally, the signs that drivers see on Chicago’s streets haven’t been replaced or upgraded. Most crosswalks’ bright yellow pedestrian signs are silent on the “yield” vs. “stop” issue. Those that do weigh in are still the old signs that tell drivers to “yield”.

Signs tell drivers to Yield Here To Pedestrians on Stockton Drive.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Signs that reflect the new law are available for purchase, and are in use elsewhere. Here's one in Champaign, Illinois:
Stop Here For Pedestrians sign at a crosswalk in Champaign, Illinois.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Is changing website wording and street signs really a priority, you ask, when the city has so many other problems it must tackle? We say that it is, because it’s a matter of public safety. 

The grim statistics according to the latest CDOT Pedestrian Crash Analysis  (PDF) is that in 2009, in the city of Chicago alone, there were 1,993 pedestrian/vehicle crashes that resulted in injuries from lacerations or bruises to death. That’s 5 or 6 crashes in Chicago every day of the year.

That’s way too much carnage, and every step that helps solve the problem is important.

We’re working toward solutions in the 43rd ward and beyond, and we invite you to join in by contacting us at

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two Ways To Experience Lake Shore Drive

Which would YOU rather choose?

Triathletes take the lane one Sunday morning of each year.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

Cars rule Lake Shore Drive nearly every other day.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

North Avenue Beach bike racks new and old

New configuration of usable bike racks, thanks to the city's Bicycle Program:
(Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)

Unusable bike rack, thanks to Mother Nature:

(Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chicago's dangerous crosswalks

We were very saddened to read earlier this week about the death of Coral Kier, 86 years old, of Lake View, after having been struck by a taxicab while she was crossing Sheridan Road. According to the Chicago Tribune article linked here, she was in the crosswalk on Sheridan Road at about 11:00 am on Monday morning, August 22, when a taxi driver who was turning left (south) onto Sheridan from westbound Briar Place struck her. She died less than 24 hours later.

We are all vulnerable as pedestrians in Chicago. Anyone who has walked on our sidewalks and in our intersections has troublesome stories about being honked at, yelled at, or cut off by motorists overeager to make a turn. Our senior citizens, many of whom walk slowly and have slower reaction times, are among the most vulnerable. A pothole in the sidewalk that a younger person can easily step over can be a big hurdle for someone with a walker or cane. In winter, an unshoveled sidewalk may mean that a senior citizen has to avoid venturing outside altogether.

Older pedestrians face enormous hurdles navigating Chicago's streets. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)

We traveled to the Lake View intersection where the incident occurred to see whether the street is accommodating to pedestrians. Frankly, it was not bad by Chicago's standards. There were curb cuts so that pedestrians could avoid stepping off and onto curbs. The crosswalk paint was visible. There were traffic lights for the cars, and pedestrian lights signalling Walk or Don't Walk. There were even bright signs on numerous corners notifying drivers that senior citizens may be present. The only thing it could use is a countdown timer.

Intersection of Sheridan Road and Briar Place, facing east. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)

So how could the taxi driver nevertheless hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk in broad daylight? Briar Place is a  one-lane, one-way side street that is only one block long before it reaches the intersection with Sheridan. Perhaps the light had turned yellow as he was approaching and he was rushing to complete the turn before the red light? Maybe he was distracted by his smart phone or radio dial and looked away completely while he was driving? It seems safe to assume that excessive speed was a factor; otherwise, wouldn't he have been able to stop before he hit her?

Sign alerting drivers of the presence of senior citizens on Sheridan Road. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)
The taxi driver was issued two tickets after the incident. It's astounding that a driver who hits an elderly woman with a metal object weighing about 4,000 pounds is simply issued two tickets and sent on his way. Is there no difference between being guilty of something like failure to renew one's license plates, say, and causing someone physical injuries that lead to their death? When this is the normal pattern, the message to drivers is this: As long as you can afford to pay a few hundred dollars in fines, you can feel free to drive distracted and at excessive speeds, and even cause people to die.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Forget about Rahm's first 100 days: What's next?

Rahm Emanuel took the oath of office on May 16, 2011 and this week, the media outlets are all talking about his first 100 days as mayor. We say forget about that; he already has. The mayor held his news conference addressing the topic on Day #99. Clearly he's already BTDT. So let's all move on, shall we?

Mayor Emanuel has promised big things for Chicagoans in the realm of biking and walking for his first year in office, and given his track record so far, we're confident these things will indeed happen. He outlined the specifics in his transition plan (PDF - check out sections 18 and 25 for the meaty bits).

Here are the four things we're most excited to see happen between now and May 16, 2012:

Walkable, bikeable Wells Street on a summer evening. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)
1/ Encouraging the human scale of Chicago's neighborhoods

The plan says the city will use street design, public education, and enforcement of traffic laws to help tame our streets. We're hoping this means widening sidewalks for pedestrians, repainting crosswalks, and ticketing cars that speed through our quiet side streets.

The MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive event in May 2011 allowed thousands of people to enjoy a car-free Lake Shore Drive. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
2/ Car-free street events!

Certain streets will be temporarily closed to motorized traffic, and open to walkers, bicyclists, tricyclists, strolling violinists and anyone else without a motor attached to them. These are typically held on Sunday mornings in other cities and have been wildly popular. Think Bike the Drive, except out in the neighborhoods, held more often, and no fee to participate!

The B-Cycle stand at Buckingham Fountain has bikes ready to ride. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)
3/ A big bike-share program

The plan specifies it will have thousands of bikes, and we're assuming dozens of drop-off/pickup locations. You may have a few B-Cycle or Bike and Roll stands around already, but they're currently clustered near the lakefront, and geared to tourists. We're hoping Chicago's program develops like those in other cities, where it's so inexpensive to have an annual membership and there are so many stands available, even locals with their own bikes use the shared bikes regularly.

A bicyclist enjoys the protected bike lane on Kinzie. (Photo Credit: Chicago Bicycle Program)
4/ Another 24.5 miles of protected bike lanes!

Protected bike lanes run along the curb, and have a buffered area that separates the bicyclists from parked cars or moving traffic lanes. In June, Chicago got our first protected bike lane on Kinzie Street, just north of the Merchandise Mart. It's nice, but at half a mile, it's not enough. And it's not in Lincoln Park! We need protected bike lanes in our neighborhoods, where families, senior citizens and other intrepid-but-sane Chicagoans would like to bike, but need more protection than a four-inch-wide strip of paint. The mayor's plan says there will be 25 miles installed in his first year.

Good start, Mayor Emanuel, and here's to the next 265 days. Actually, 2012 is a leap year, so you get an extra day: Use it wisely.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Let's hear your ideas for pedestrians!

Walking around Chicago is both a pleasure and a hazard. 

In Lincoln Park alone, we have scores of destinations that are easily reached on foot, and our sidewalks are crowded with people walking. Our neighborhood is rated among the most walkable in the city! And indeed, we’re fortunate to already have a lot of infrastructure in place, like sidewalks along every street, and marked crosswalks at intersections, many with countdown timers.

But crosswalks are too often faded and set too far apart. Turning cars and speeding taxis menace those on foot.  In the neighborhoods, refuge islands on wide streets are rare. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of the street, and it still feels very dangerous out there, way too often.

Lincoln Park pedestrians crossing Clark Street at Menomonee/1700 North. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)

The Chicago Department of Transportation recently released this study of pedestrian accidents in the city, and it contained sad bits of data, like there are an average of 8 pedestrian-vehicle crashes in the city every day. You can read full coverage of the CDOT study in the Chicago Tribune’s “Getting Around” column by Jon Hilkevitch.

Someone should do something about it, you say? Well, the problem is being worked on as we speak, and you still have time to participate. CDOT is putting together Chicago's first Pedestrian Plan, which will be a comprehensive analysis of the pedestrian experience in our city, and a plan for improving it.

The organizers have already held listening sessions in the neighborhoods, and next week on August 24, there will be a workshop open to the public at the Harold Washington Library, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

This won’t be a boring slideshow that you can snooze through. According to a confirmation e-mail from the consulting firm that will run the meeting, it will begin with remarks by Gabe Klein, CDOT’s new commissioner and wunderkind from DC. Then, participants will be briefly trained, assigned to a team, sent out into the Loop to assess a specified location from the view of a pedestrian, and asked to report back their findings. (Mental note:  Wear comfortable shoes.)

Busy pedestrian crosswalk in the Loop at Clark and Madison. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolPark)

We’re told there's still plenty of room for you to attend. Email to register, and you’ll receive an email response confirming your participation (although it may take a day or two, so send your RSVP now).

If you can’t make it in person, you can still submit an online comment card with your suggestions for improving Chicago’s walkability. Check out some of the ideas already submitted here.

We see there are comments from many neighborhoods, but NONE from Lincoln Park yet! Let’s step it up and represent! Some of the suggestions are to add more signage, lighting and benches. Someone from Jefferson Park suggested replacing portions of curbside parking with space for a planted tree, especially when sidewalks are very narrow. A person in Albany Park asked for more pedestrian bridges across the river.

We’ll be at the workshop – will we see you there?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First bike lane in the Loop!

Lincoln Parkers who commute by bike to downtown jobs may have witnessed bicycling history in the making this week: The very first bike lane within the Loop was installed on Madison Street from Michigan Avenue to Wells Street. 

The same number of lanes remain for motorized vehicles, but the lanes have been narrowed. The bike lane is on the right of the moving lanes, but to the left of the bus/right turn lane.

The Chicago Loop's first bike lane begins at Madison Street and Michigan Avenue. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)
New bike lane on Madison Street, between Michigan Avenue and Wabash. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)
Of course we took it for a test ride. How does it rate?


No risk of dooring because there are no parked cars on either side.

It's decently wide, and the stripes are shockingly bright and clear, especially against the new black asphalt underneath.

The narrowing of the remaining moving lanes will theoretically have the effect of slowing down motorized vehicles, making the street safer for all users. (However, a casual observation during lunch hour reflected that a good number of taxicab drivers were resisting the reality of their newly narrowed driving space, and speeding just as fast as always.)

This cyclist appeared quite comfortable in the new bike lane. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)

This one's huge: Cyclists in the new bike lane are exposed on both sides, effectively "wedged" between moving traffic on their left and buses/right turners on the other side. This configuration is definitely not as safe-feeling as a lane that runs on the curb, much less a protected lane like the one on Kinzie.

The bus/right turn lane will be very busy, as there are numerous bus routes on Madison, and many streets heading north, so there will be constant crisscrossing of vehicles behind and in front of cyclists.

Heavy motorized vehicle traffic surrounding the Madison Street bike lane at State Street. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)

Vehicles turning right crossing the new bike path. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)

Madison is only one way, the bike lane ends after half a mile at Wells, and then you're on your own again. Hopefully this is temporary, and additional lanes will be put in promptly all over the Loop. Given the width of streets in the central business district, there's certainly plenty of room.
The oft-cited goal of creating bike infrastructure that serves cyclists from 8 to 80 is not reached with these lanes. You would not bring your young child nor aging grandmother on this route, no matter how enthusiastic they are about cycling. Similarly, we're not sure this will feel safe enough for use by tourists who rent bikes. You may have noticed them proliferating lately, and this will only increase when the city implements its plan for a large-scale bike sharing program. 

So there are some pluses, some minuses. It's certainly better than what we had before, which was zilch. We'll be riding it regularly, will you?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Who is advocating for Chicago's bike lane maintenance?

If you've ever looked at the city's bike map, you'll see that there are many miles of Chicago's streets that are designated as either "existing bike lanes" or "existing marked shared lanes". Either way, according to the map, there is supposed to be striping on the pavement to signal to the drivers that they should expect bicycles present.

But the reality on the streets is very different. Many of the bike lanes were striped five years ago or more, and never restriped. They're often faded, and sometimes even completely invisible.

If a street has a bike lane, but no one can see it, is it still a bike lane? Wells Street at 1700 North.  (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)
Have you ever wondered why Chicago's bike lanes are in such a sorry state? The answer is a combination of how bike lane maintenance is funded, and how the city's ward maps are drawn up.

The funding aspect of this topic is nicely explained in this post on Grid Chicago, and we recommend that you read it for excellent insight. The bottom line is that new bike lanes are paid for by federal funds. However, those same funds don't cover maintenance, including re-striping of existing lanes. That responsibility is left to the city, but there is no organized citywide plan or budget to provide for  maintenance. Instead, it has been expected that each alderman allot some of their aldermanic menu funds to pay for bike lane re-striping. An alderman has $1.3 million per year, which sounds like a lot of money, but there are dozens of competing priorities within the ward for funds. Constituents ask aldermen to use their menu funds to pay for everything from installing street lights at an intersection to upgrading playground equipment in a neighborhood park, and much more. 

So who gets the grease? You know the answer to that.

Here's the biggest problem in all this: Unlike a single intersection or a park's playground, which are wholly contained within an alderman's district, a bike lane may stretch over miles, with only a small section  crossing through any given city ward. Most importantly, the people who use the bike lane the most and who would benefit from a bike lane's restriping, may or may not live within the ward, because they're only passing through. In fact, a majority of those who benefit likely live elsewhere, in adjoining wards or further "down stream".

Here's a concrete example. Let's say Biker Bob lives in Albany Park, close to Irving Park Road and Elston Avenue,  and commutes by bike southeast on Elston every day to his job in River West, near Chicago and Halsted. That's a five-mile ride and takes about a half an hour. He notices the sorry state of the bike lanes on Elston and as a concerned bicyclist and citizen, wants to take action. What should he do?

A five-mile bike ride down Elston Avenue in Chicago takes a commuter through five different aldermanic wards. 
If you look at the map, you see that in a five-mile ride on Elston, Bob passes over a jigsaw puzzle of five aldermanic wards: 33rd (Mell), 35th (Colon), 1st (Moreno), 32nd (Waguespack) and 27th (Burnett). Bob could call his own alderman, Alderman Mell, and work hard to persuade him to use menu funds to pay for restriping, but that only covers the segment from Addison to Belmont. After that, it's up to four other aldermen to step up and open up their wallets. But Biker Bob is not a constituent of the other aldermen, and the chance of them being responsive to a squeaky wheel who resides in another ward is quite low, to say the least. 

What are Bob's other options? Contact friends who live in the other four wards and care enough about bike lanes to raise a stink with their own aldermen? Stop other bike riders on Elston to ask where they live and rally them to take up the cause? Form an Elston Avenue Commuters United group to address the issue? This sounds like it would take huge numbers of personal connections and/or chutzpah, and definitely a heck of a lot of work.

So we have a public good from which many people benefit, but no alignment of political incentives to act to preserve the public good. This has to be changed. For new bike lanes that the city puts in, there must be a better plan in place to fund and maintain the bike lanes, or else the developing network of bike lanes will become useless within a few years.

We're lucky that in the eastern part of Lincoln Park, our former alderman, Vi Daley, did allocate menu funds for restriping of bike lanes, which is being done this summer by CDOT, as outlined in this  document. You may have already noticed the nice re-striping on Armitage or Halsted already completed. And to be fair, the sorry stretch of Wells Street north of North Avenue in the picture above is slated to be done soon as well. We thank former Alderman Daley for allocating money for this, and we are hopeful that our current Lincoln Park aldermen, Michele Smith and Scott Waguespack, are equally supportive of bicycle and pedestrian issues.

Many city wards are not as lucky to have supportive aldermen who see the importance of bike lane maintenance. The CDOT document above only reflects re-striping scheduled this summer in the 1st, 43rd and 49th (Moore) wards. That's three wards, out of 50.

If you live in Lincoln Park, contact us at to join our efforts. If you live in any of the other great neighborhoods in Chicago, think about organizing your neighbors to make sure bicycle issues are high on the priority list for your alderman, perhaps with the help of the Active Transportation Alliance's Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign. Your fellow bicyclists all over the city will thank you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

CDOT Wants to Get Personal

You're not still sitting alone in your car while driving to work or running errands in the neighborhood, are you? If so, the Chicago Department of Transportation has its sights set on you.
Traffic jam on North Lincoln Avenue. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)
The city has an open request for proposals for companies to work with CDOT to roll out a five-year "personal marketing" program to get lone Chicagoans out of their cars and using one of five alternative methods of getting around: public transit, biking, walking, carpooling, or car sharing (like the Chicago non-profit I-GO, or Zipcar). The RFP says that the program will target five neighborhoods and involve  reaching out to all households in the selected areas, with the goal of converting at least 10 percent to regularly making environmentally friendly choices when making transportation choices.

For those households who receive the direct mail solicitation and respond that they are open to the idea of learning more, CDOT will follow up with phone calls, e-mail newsletters, and even house calls. They'll provide customized information like stop-specific transit schedules and bike maps, as well as promotional materials like pedometers, CTA passes, and t-shirts.

But will Lincoln Park be one of the neighborhoods chosen? In some ways, it seems that we'd be ripe for targeting, because we have a walkable, bikable area that is already well-served by public transportation and car sharing programs. On the other hand, we'd guess that statistically, Lincoln Parkers are already using alternative methods at relatively high rates, so it would be harder to find people to convert. But we have neighbors who drive their cars daily to their Loop jobs, so there's certainly room for improvement in our 'hood!
Bike commuters on a Friday morning on North Wells Street. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark)
In the mean time, we hope you already know that you can get customized directions for using public transit, walking, or biking on the Chicago tab of HopStop, as well as on Google Maps .  HopStop is fun because it lets you point to your starting point and destination on a map, in case you're not sure of the address. It also tells you how many calories you'll burn by riding your bike there, as well as the volume of carbon emissions savings you're achieving by walking or riding your bike. That's some nice immediate motivation! Although none of these methods are perfect due to inherent limitations that apply to all wayfinding technology, they're a pretty good starting point. 

At least, until a friendly CDOT worker knocks on your door and hands you your customized map.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lincoln Park To Get a "Preppy" Hotel

We were happy to read yesterday that the nearly vacant building at 1816 N. Clark has now been purchased by the California hotel group Joie de Vivre. According to this article in Red Eye, Joie de Vivre plans to open a newly reburbished boutique hotel in February 2012.

A new hotel will enliven this dull stretch of Clark Street. (Photo:
The highly visible building overlooks the Lincoln Park Farm in the Zoo, is across from the Green City Market, and currently hosts the popular restaurant Perennial Virant. In the past, hotels on the site operated under the names of Hotel Gold Coast and Days Inn Gold Coast -- apparently in the neighborhood's darker  years, when it wasn't yet a smart move to use the words "Lincoln Park" in your marketing strategy.

But in spite of the excellent location, it has been vacant for at least six years, when Days Inn (and Bar Louie On the Park, RIP) vacated. In the interim, at least one other investment group bought the property with intentions to renovate and open the "Park View Hotel", but they ran out of funds. The mishmash of leftover signage, unused glass windows on Clark Street, and underused building has been an eyesore for pedestrians and bicyclists ever since. 

Unattractive mishmash of leftover signs. (Photo:
So we welcome the news that a new owner has big plans to invest. The Joie de Vivre group's website shows that it runs at least 30 boutique hotels in California, each with its own "personality". The Red Eye article says that the group will design the hotel to reflect Lincoln Park's style, which they describe as "eccentric-meets-collegial preppy".  OK . . . we'll take that, and thank them for at least not using the names Trixie or Chad in the description.

They plan to take advantage of the views by opening a rooftop bar, always a huge draw in summer months. We also like that they will name it Hotel Lincoln, which was its original name, and lends a nice historical touch.

The marquee with the original name Hotel Lincoln is still visible. (Photo:
We'd like to suggest that Joie de Vivre take advantage of the hotel's walkable and bikeable location by  providing guests resources for getting around through people-powered means. The site is right on the major north/south bike corridor of Wells/Lincoln, and it has safe and easy access to the Lakefront Trail. Perhaps Hotel Lincoln could provide biking maps, and make it easy for guest to rent bikes by arranging to install a row of rental bikes from the city's rapidly expanding bike share program, B-Cycle.

B-Cycle bicycles available for hourly rentals or longer, at Lincoln Park's Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Joie de Vivre, let us know if you want more tips, and welcome to the neighborhood.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

For your browsing pleasure

We've now added biking and pedestrian links to our blog roll over there ------------->
and we hope you take the time to check them out.
Bicyclists and pedestrians on the Chicago's Lakefront Path at North Avenue. Photo:
Looking over the list, we see they're heavy on the bike-related topics, but not by choice! Biking seems to inspire more bloggers and advocacy organizations, but if you know of others that cover pedestrian issues, please let us know.

If you're new to Chicago's biking scene, you might want to head over to the City of Chicago Bike Program website for information about bicycle laws, safety, new initiatives, and much more. Click on the Chicago Bike Maps link to view the city map and see which streets currently have bike lanes, shared lanes, or no special accommodation for bikes -- too many, unfortunately.
Bike lane ends, on Wells Street.  Photo:
Chicago's online biking community meets regularly at Chainlink, which has bike-related event notices, meet up groups, and active discussion forum with topics ranging from advice on routes to a destination, to commiserating about the challenges of urban cycling.

Just for fun, we've included a few sites like Copenhagen Chic, which has inspirational photographs of those ultra-cool Danes pedalling casually around their bicycling paradise while wearing impossibly chic everyday clothing. You'll see no spandex on that site. Not to be outdone, we have our own Chicago version at Bike Fancy, with beautiful pictures of our own Windy City compatriots looking stylish and showing their bike love.

Hope you're inspired, and happy browsing!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Show that you share the road!

Many of us in Lincoln Park not only bike and walk, but also drive cars on occasion! People using any of the three modes of transportation all have rights and responsibilities.

The state of Illinois and the League of Illinois Bicyclists has a great new way for you to show your support for the concept of "Sharing the Road". If 1,500 people place a pre-order, the state will begin printing these dandy license plates:

The additional cost the first year is $51, and each year after that $22, but $20 of that will go to the League of Illinois Bicyclists' educational programs. This is well worth it for eye-catching and unique plates like this! You'll be assigned a brand new license plate number of 4 digits, or customizing with vanity characters will be available.

Get all the information you need here to put your order in today!