The Lakefront Path: A Cautionary Tale

Chicagoist story about a pending lawsuit between a cyclist and a rollerblader and his dog due to a collision on Chicago’s lakefront path.

The story itself almost belongs in “The Week In Stupid”, but the comments to the article are quickly turning into a cry to ban biking on the lakefront path. Interesting if you’re a Chicago resident, a biker, or both.

read moredigg story

~ by Matt Stratton on September 6, 2006.

6 Responses to “The Lakefront Path: A Cautionary Tale”

  1. Multi-use paths have always been problematic for cyclists. With the very rare exception of exceptionally fit rollerbladers, most traffic is about walking speed. But a cyclist can go much faster. Children and pets often aren’t aware of how much faster they can go.

    I know a lot of people who are afraid to bike on streets, but the most scary moments I’ve had have been on bike paths (with one or two exceptions). In one case, a kid lost control of his kite and the cord nearly severed my neck.

  2. Oh, I agree. I actually do feel somewhat safer biking the streets vs. the lake path. Although I like riding the lake path at 6:30 AM – everyone there is on a mission, and they know how to use the path properly.

    Generally speaking, there’s just one particular stretch of the lake path here (which is 18 miles long, I think) that’s really hairy – it’s in between North Ave Beach and Oak Street Beach – the path gets congested with people just standing around in it, or all the families with their rental quadracycles. It’s almost worth just walking around all that junk. And it’s why I never ever go anywhere NEAR that part of the path between noon and 4 PM on a weekday during the summer.

  3. That particular stretch of the path that you mentioned is covered with signs reading “Slow Area” and “Proceed at Walking Speed” and things like that, yet people still fly through there on bikes and blades all the time.

    Admittedly I’m not walking either, but I’m usually jogging on the edge of the path, and I can stop a hell of a lot faster than a bike can. I have no problem with bikers or anyone else on the path — it’s an exercise path along our beautiful lakefront and it’s there to be used. My only problem is with the bikers who go flying down that path doing around 25-30+ mph. That’s just safe, and then they get all pissy with anyone on “their” path. I mean, by the time I hear them say “on your left” (if they say it), they’re already way past me due to their speed.

    God forbid someone would be wearing headphones while exercising (running, blading, biking, walking…) and not hear the “on your left” call and end up getting absolutely creamed by one of these tour-de-lake racers.

    Seriously, the path is for everyone, and if people would just use good judgement and common sense, we would have a lot less problems.

    Don’t go too fast for the situation.
    Don’t just stand on the path – move off to the side.
    Don’t walk/run/bike side by side and block an entire half of the path – leave room for people to pass.
    And for goodness sake, if you’re going to cross the path, look both freakin’ ways before doing it, dumbass.


  4. I’m totally with you on the crazy bike racer guys. They’re just as annoying and dangerous to other cyclists as they are to pedestrians, bladers, and runners.

    Another part that really annoys me is when you’re down at Grand (I think). The path basically takes a detour through the bridge there, so it’s a sidewalk with poles and stuff – and sidewalk traffic going both ways. And every day when I ride home that way, I run into (almost literally) guys flying through there on bikes. Scares the crap out of me.

  5. Hahaha! I knew that was you commenting on the Chicagoist….what’s up with giving away our term “chief?” ;P
    I can’t imagine how anyone bikes that path on a summer weekend. I run the path, and want to clothesline all of the retards who either walk 5 people across, stand in the middle of it with their strollers or just walk out in front of the traffic without looking.
    As we should all know by now, there is nothing common about common sense.

  6. Hey, I figured if it was OK for Tracy and Brian to share “Chief” with those Welsh people, it could get spread more locally too 🙂

    And what gave me away? My gratuitious use of the word “douchebag”?

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