Weather Updates

Editorial: Oh, the biker and the driver should be friends

A bicyclist rides bike lane Kinzie Street.  |  Sun-Times files

A bicyclist rides in the bike lane on Kinzie Street. | Sun-Times files

storyidforme: 50315889
tmspicid: 6062545
fileheaderid: 2421340

Updated: July 7, 2013 12:53PM

The bike rider and the driver should be friends.

Oh, the bike rider and the driver should be friends.

One man likes to spin a pedal, the other puts pedal to the metal.

But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends.

If only the police would crack down, which now they really can.

The Chicago City Council voted Wednesday to jack up fines for bad behavior by cowboy cyclists and reckless motorists, hoping both sides will get the message.

If a driver flips open a door without checking to see if a bike rider is coming up from behind — “dooring” is a leading cause of fatal bicycle accidents — the fine is $1,000, which is double the old fine.

If a bike rider blows a stop sign, ignores a pedestrian walk sign or disobeys any other traffic law, fines now start at $25 for all offenses and can jump to $200.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to make Chicago so bike-friendly, you might mistake it for Copenhagen.

He has promised to install 100 miles of protected bike lanes during his first four years in office, and he’s getting there. The city now has 204.1 miles of on-street bikeways, including 18.6 miles of protected or buffered lanes.

And just this month the mayor launched the nation’s biggest bike-sharing program.

Of such small pleasures and conveniences are great cities made.

But with more bike riders comes an element of danger.

Last year, 1,675 bicycle crashes were reported in Chicago, 250 of them dooring accidents. Tensions between bicyclists and motorists are on the rise.

So stop at every light, bike riders. And watch those right turns, drivers.

And ticket away, officers.

Because, golly, the bike rider and the driver should be friends.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.