Sad News in Chicago

I am back in Chicago, which a few days in extremely loud and crowded Manhattan made me really appreciate.  Sadly, I learned of several upsetting bicycle crashes that occurred in Chicago in my absence.

A 25-year-old woman was struck and killed by a truck while riding her bike in the Loop. According to the news report, she fell under the truck at a stop light and did not have time to get up before the light turned green. Also, two women I personally know were injured in car-bike incidents, one being Martha of Bike Fancy, which she posted about here. Martha also posted about another young woman who was hit by a left-turning car and seriously injured.

I hear about drivers of motor vehicles having serious collisions in the city every day – I know bicycling is not more dangerous, especially when considering not only my own safety but the safety of other road users.  But hearing about bicycle collisions hits too close to home.  I feel for the family of the woman who died and I hope everyone else recovers quickly.

I don’t like it when people tell me to “be careful out there.”  I’m always careful out there – I have to be – and if anything happens to me while bicycling, it will very likely be caused by a driver’s carelessness, so maybe people should tell all the drivers they know to “be careful out there.”

So I will not tell you to be careful out there, but I want to acknowledge that sometimes bad stuff happens and I hope it never happens to any of you.

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15 thoughts on “Sad News in Chicago

  1. Sue says:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s all extremely sad. But, like you said, as much as we all love cycling, sometimes bad stuff does happen. It helps us to deal with and to remember and to learn from.

  2. Holly says:

    This is so sad. (25 years old–and in the city for just a year…my heart goes out to her family.)

    I’m not sure what I learn from any of these bad things. Best guess–the onus is on me to be as safe and predictable as possible. Beyond that, much of my personal safety is out of my control. That notion can be terrifying. I guess I’m lucky that it hasn’t dissuaded me even after being doored, landing in the hospital, then laid-up at home for a month.

    You wrote about fear recently. This is the kind of fear that one couple I know feels. They tried to ride to work a few years ago. They had a scary incident on one of their first days on the bikes. They were harassed by young hooligans in a car who slapped the woman’s ass as they sped by, slowed down and then tried to run both of them into parked cars. When I asked my friend how come he never rides to work anymore, he said, “It’s fear. Everyone I know who rides in this city has had some kind of accident and many were serious.” That’s a sobering thought. He did also say, “My car has been hit by another driver 6 times in the last 8 years.” I don’t know what to make of this.

    Drive safely no matter what you’re “driving.”

    Speedy recovery wishes to Martha and Regina!

  3. Lauren Taylor says:

    oh, that’s terrible. those poor women :(

  4. carfreepvd says:

    “I don’t like it when people tell me to “be careful out there.” I’m always careful out there – I have to be – and if anything happens to me while bicycling, it will very likely be caused by a driver’s carelessness, so maybe people should tell all the drivers they know to “be careful out there.” “

  5. carfreepvd says:

    >>”I don’t like it when people tell me to “be careful out there.” I’m always careful out there – I have to be – and if anything happens to me while bicycling, it will very likely be caused by a driver’s carelessness, so maybe people should tell all the drivers they know to “be careful out there.” ”

    I agree, but I’ve never written about it before. It irks me a little when a fellow cyclist says “have a safe ride.” I know it’s just a pet peeve on my part, but it just makes me think of all the unsafe things that could happen (but aren’t really likely to, statistically speaking). Instead, I try to say, “have a nice ride” or “enjoy your ride” because enjoying the ride is really the point.

    The only time I think it’s appropriate to encourage cyclists to “ride safe” is before a group ride or a race, because sport cycling is a little more dangerous than transportation cycling. (at least, that’s the only time I’ve had a severe accident).

  6. I will join those who dislike being told to “be careful/safe out there.” Maybe I am superstitious, but it almost seems to invite the opposite, even though that’s not the intention.

  7. Safe but Fun says:

    I hate to say, but how many bicyclists out there blow through stop signs and lights, ride at night without any reflectors or lights, and assume the traffic is going to stop for them, or let alone see them? It’s everyone’s fault. You cannot just blame the cars. I see bicyclists being careless every single day.

    I do not drive, but I ride a bike everyday and a motorcycle on the summer weekends. I dislike the “be careful” sentiment, too, but my motorcycle buddies and I always wish each other a safe ride. I do it with my bicyclist friends, too. No one seems to mind. It’s a positive thought and reminder that people care about you and want to see you ride another day.

    My heart goes out to those injured in accidents and their families, and I’m not in anyway trying to place blame on anyone in any of these situations, but let’s use these situations to remind ourselves to stop at red lights, at least slow down and pay attention at stop signs, use hand signals, be visible by wearing lights at night, and helmets all the time.

    Enjoy riding, everyone!

    • Dottie says:

      I understand your sentiment, but I’m not comfortable using these situations to remind ourselves to stop at red lights, use hand signals, etc., because as far as I know, none of those were issues in any of the crashes that happened.

    • Pipon says:

      I agree. Also, I believe the young woman who was killed fell off her bike under the truck. Sh was not hit by the truck while riding. The truck driver did nothing wrong depsite the sad results.

  8. Safe but Fun says:

    I hate to say, but how many bicyclists out there blow through stop signs and lights, ride at night without any reflectors or lights, and assume the traffic is going to stop for them, or let alone see them? It’s everyone’s fault. You cannot just blame the cars. I see bicyclists being careless every single day.

    I do not drive, but I ride a bike everyday and a motorcycle on the summer weekends. I dislike the “be careful” sentiment, too, but my motorcycle buddies and I always wish each other a safe ride. I do it with my bicyclist friends, too. No one seems to mind. It’s a positive thought and reminder that people care about you and want to see you ride another day.

    My heart goes out to those injured in accidents and their families, and I’m not in anyway trying to place blame on anyone in any of these situations, but let’s use these situations to remind ourselves to stop at red lights, at least slow down and pay attention at stop signs, use hand signals, be visible by wearing lights at night, and helmets all the time.

    Enjoy riding, everyone!

  9. RobW says:

    We can all make a mistake, or error in judgement, no matter how careful we are, its part of being human. How sad that occasionally these instances can have such tragic results. When I make an error, its a draw as to whom is more irritated by it, me or the drivers around me. As long as its mental irritation, and not road rash, I’m happy.

  10. maureen says:

    Oh, how tragic! Very sad news indeed.

  11. GRJim says:

    I don’t particularly like the words “be careful” but it’s all about how it’s said. I used “ride safe” after a long conversation with a bakfiets-clad family this weekend. Since I knew more about their bike than they did they knew we were on the same page.
    “Be careful” carries too many safety nanny overtones. I like: safe travels or bonne route.

  12. Sue says:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s all extremely sad. But, like you said, as much as we all love cycling, sometimes bad stuff does happen. It helps us to deal with and to remember and to learn from.

  13. carfreepvd says:

    “I don’t like it when people tell me to “be careful out there.” I’m always careful out there – I have to be – and if anything happens to me while bicycling, it will very likely be caused by a driver’s carelessness, so maybe people should tell all the drivers they know to “be careful out there.” “

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