Saturday, December 6, 2014

Postal Driver Nearly Delivers Right Hook To Chicago Bicyclist

An aggressive U.S. postal driver nearly delivered a right hook as I rode home in the Kinzie bike lane last night.

Illinois law generally requires bicyclists riding slower than motor vehicle traffic to travel along the right side of the roadway.  Right turning drivers who fail to look for bicyclists on their right are among the most common causes of bike crashes in urban areas.  These collisions are common enough in Chicago that the city's municipal code addresses them.  Section 9-16-020(f)  states:
When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any highway, street or road, the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking such bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at that intersection or at any alley or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle.
The situation represented in the video above was particularly frustrating.  The driver must have seen me.  Firstly, I was riding in a clearly marked bicycle lane.  Secondly, I must have been very visible to any driver.  I had a red flashing light on the rear of my bike, panniers with reflective strips, tires with reflective sidewalls (Schwalbe Marathon), and a bright flashing white light on the front of my bike.  Thirdly, there is a sign located at the intersection (Kinzie and Jefferson) that instructs turning drivers to stop for bicyclists and pedestrians.  (Bicyclists are only required to stop at that intersection when pedestrians are present.)

I was able to avoid colliding with the mail truck because I was not riding very fast.  Also, the driver did use his/her turn signal.  Thankfully, I noticed it.

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