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Laws Against Parking in Bike Lanes Widely Ignored -- Even By Police, Buses

By Justin Breen | January 11, 2016 5:24am | Updated on January 11, 2016 5:40am
 Cars, police vehicles and CTA buses in Chicago bike lanes.
Cars, police vehicles and CTA buses in Chicago bike lanes.
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DOWNTOWN — Attorney Andy Moss rides his bike 20 miles roundtrip from his Oak Park home to his office Downtown almost every weekday of the year.

He loves that his preferred routes of Washington Boulevard, Madison Street and Lake Street all have dedicated bike lanes. There's just one problem with each of his treks: There is always something parked in those lanes.

"By causing me to ride outside the bike lane, it creates a danger for me, but it also creates a danger for drivers and slows down traffic for everybody," Moss said.

Moss was the first contributor to a recent post from The Chainlink called "What's this doing in the bike lane?" asking for cyclists to submit photos and videos of vehicles parked in bike lanes. Moss submitted a picture of a Chicago Police SUV in a green Downtown bike lane. That's concerning to cyclists, considering police are supposed to enforce laws against parking in the lane.

"I am hoping, by giving Chicago cyclists a way to document the occurrences, we can raise the awareness and bring about change to make the bike lanes safer to ride in," said Chainlink president and owner, Yasmeen Schuller.

Other submissions have included cars and CTA buses parked in bike lanes. Chicago has more than 200 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes, according to the city's official website.

Parking in bike lanes was even a problem during the official dedication by the state of bike lanes along Clybourn Avenue this past November, when a truck started unloading in the lane while officials were conducting a press conference.

Schuller expects to receive photos of trucks, buses, taxis, cars, police vehicles and other modes of transportation parked in bike lanes. Winter weather causes another issue, she said, because plow trucks sometimes pile snow in bike lanes and people shovel snow into them. Streetsblog Chicago on Tuesday posted an article noting how several West Side bike lanes were blocked by snow.

"I'm hoping by documenting this issue throughout the year ... and having it come from a lot of different cyclists, it will be more clear this truly is a widespread problem," Schuller said.

To submit a photo on The Chainlink's website, click here.

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