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Women More Likely To Be Killed In Bicycle Crashes Than Men, Officials Say

By Heather Cherone | March 9, 2017 5:42am | Updated on March 10, 2017 11:22am
 A Divvy cyclist was hit by a truck Friday morning at Belmont and Sacramento.
A Divvy cyclist was hit by a truck Friday morning at Belmont and Sacramento.
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Kevin Schroeder

CHICAGO — Half of the people killed while riding their bicycles in Chicago in 2016 had four things in common, according data released by city officials Wednesday.

• They were not male — even though 70 percent of Chicago's regular bicyclists are men.

• They were younger than 30.

• They were struck by the driver of a large commercial vehicle making a turn or merging into traffic.

• And they died during the morning rush hour, according to according to data presented to the mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council.

In all, six bicyclists died in crashes in Chicago during 2016, down slightly from the seven who died in 2015, according to data presented by Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld. Two were women and one, Lisa Kuivinen, identified as non-binary.

"It is a problem across the city," Scheinfeld said.

One bicyclist has been killed since the start of 2017 — a man who died Jan. 11 in Humboldt Park. The driver of the car was not ticketed in connection with the fatal crash, officials said.

Scheinfeld pledged city officials would step up their efforts to achieve the city's goal of eliminating death and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2026 as part of the mayor's Vision Zero campaign.

Only one of the fatalities occurred in a marked bicycle lane, according to the data.

Charles Billows, the director of security for the city's Department of Finance, which is charged with enforcing parking laws, said the city would step up efforts to ticket vehicles that block bicycle lanes.

About 15 traffic enforcement aides already patrol the city on bicycles, Billows said. Another 20 will be hired in the coming months, Billow told the council.

Roughly 1,300 tickets were issued in 2016 to vehicles blocking bicycle lanes, most for double parking, Billow said.

Bicyclists who encounter a blocked lane should call 311, as city officials can assign agents to patrol areas that are the subject of a number of complaints.

"We will use that data as a tool," Billows said. "And that behavior changes pretty fast."