More Warnings, Few Tickets For Bicyclists Ignoring Traffic Laws

A bike ambassador and Chicago Police officer chat with a motorist at a recent bike safety enforcement event. Photo credit DNA Info.

While the City of Chicago has seemingly stepped up its enforcement events on bike riders, as in recent past years, disproportionate numbers of warnings are being issued compared to actual traffic violations–at least according to a story at DNA Info Chicago.

This past Wednesday afternoon, Chicago police and Chicago Department of Transportation Bike Ambassadors were at Damen and Armitage trying to promote general traffic safety for bikers, pedestrians and motor vehicles.

According to the piece, while numerous legal violations by cyclists were spotted by the five policemen on duty, including riding on the sidewalk, not obeying traffic signals or riding against traffic, only 20 warnings were issued in the form of an educational flier.

Although, the same story reports that a similar event at Armitage and Milwaukee in May resulted in eight tickets which carried fines were issued.

100 such events, where more fliers will be issued to bike riders who ignore traffic laws, are scheduled to take place in 2013.

Here’s DNA Info’s full story, “Chicago Bicyclists, Drivers Issued Warnings in Bucktown Crackdown.”

15 Responses to More Warnings, Few Tickets For Bicyclists Ignoring Traffic Laws

  1. Drew says:

    Stop issuing warnings FFS.

    Bike Riders KNOW how they are supposed to behave in traffic, bike lane or no bike lane.

    Pick 1 Friday….say a Critical Mass day….And ticket the shit out of the Cyclists.

    Problem goes away FAST.

  2. David says:

    I think many bicycle riders would have no problem with this IF the city also starts ticketing drivers.

  3. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    The city tickets drivers all the time. Over 2 million parking tickets are issued every year and about 700,000 red light camera tickets. Speed camera tickets will also be here soon. Drivers get ticketed routinely for driving violations. I would agree the police can’t be omnipresent and catch every single violation, but every day, drivers get ticketed for traffic violations.

    My belief is, if bikers demand expensive infrastructure, and believe bikes have a right to be on the road (as I believe too), they need to be held to a higher standard then they currently are. I believe all adult bike riders should be required to pay for a bike driver’s license and obey the rules of the road like every other vehicle on the road.

    Bikers can NOT have it both ways. If they want the infrastructure and be treated like legitimate vehicles on our roads, then they need to be treated to similar standards that drivers face.

  4. MRL says:

    The idea that bikes and cars are treated the same is an absurd premise. But if we MUST go there, when was the last time that you saw a stakeout of squad cars to enforce rolling stops or failure to signal before changing lanes for CARS?

    The “stakeout” shows are absurd. They are counterproductive for everyone b/c they don’t issue tickets and they don’t change behaviour.

    If you want to change behaviour and perceptions, then seriously NAIL someone on a bike who runs a four-way stop sign with three other cars present. Every Idaho-stopper (like myself) would welcome that type of ticketing.

    My perception is that the vast majority of cagers are pissed at cyclists for “running red lights” when running that red light poses no safety issue to anyone and also does not slow any other traffic down.

    Stop cyclists who act in a reckless, dangerous manner. Stop them and fine them substantially. But could we all please stop pretending that a cyclist who doesn’t stop in a protected bike lane at a “T” intersection with no cross traffic to that bike lane is any kind of threat to anyone?

  5. MRL says:

    Regarding “treated like cars” — this argument is againg a bit specious. Bikes aren’t cars. All that you would need to do to refute the “they should all act like cars” argument is instruct every commuting cyclist to “take the lane” and occupy the center of a lane of traffic, “just like cars.” Traffic will screech to a halt and then we can go back to acknowledging that bikes aren’t cars and have a productive discussion about co-existing peacefully.

  6. MRL says:

    “againg” = “again”

  7. B says:

    This sort of infrastructure is for people who have driven cars since the day they turned 16 and/or were mostly driven around by their parents prior to that. They are afraid of the traffic and bicycling vehicular. These projects get political traction because they fit the anti-car agenda of most bicycling and transit political activists.

    It would be one thing if they improved bicycling and transit to attract use, but instead they are hell bent on making driving more aggravating instead.

    These over complicated bicycling ‘solutions’ are crap IMO for both bicyclists that ride vehicularly and motorists. Using a bicycle as a vehicle does not require any of these lanes. The idea that this infrastructure is about being treated equally is just plain wrong. A system that treats bicyclists equally would be a wide a curb lane. That’s it. No reduction in lanes, just make the one on the right about 16+ feet wide instead of the normal 12. (use ratios for what to do with a 9 foot wide lane) Instead there are these bicycle ghettos that give motorists the impression bicyclists must remain within them and may only ride streets with them.

  8. David says:

    Dear PTG:

    Parking Tickets, Red Light Camera Tickets and Speed Camera tickets aren’t “enforcement” , they are revenue stream enhancements. If you are going to play “gotcha” with bicycles, play “gotcha” with cars as well. Just today I was cruising down Damen in my car at the speed limit, when a car cut around me through the bike lanes at high speed (passing me on the right). And a Squadrol was right there and did nothing. Real enforcement on cars is a joke.

  9. Jeff says:

    Chicago police issue plenty of traffic tickets. Spend the day at the Daley Center traffic courts, and you can see multiple court rooms handling traffic ticket hearings all day long.

  10. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    I wish that a-hole who drove around you was ticketed. Those type of guys drive me nuts. However, I just saw two cars pulled over today by cops. Don’t know what they did, but they seemed to be getting tickets. I see cars pulled over by cops all the time.

    However, my office is on Milwaukee Ave.

    Hundreds, if not thousands of bikers ride up and down Milwaukee every day. I drive up and down Milwaukee as well every day.

    I see bike riders violate the law daily.

    Yet, I have never, EVER seen a bike rider pulled over by a cop and ticketed in the 6 years I’ve worked in that area.

    Just saying.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Have cyclists get plates and city stickers. They blow a red and they get to donate $100 to the city. They want to use the roads? Fine. Let them help pay for their infrastructure amenities. What gets me is that people who do make good money, like the Darwin Award winner from Groupon who got hit by a drunk driver. If you can afford a Gold Coast Condo because you make web pages for a living, you deserve the Darwin Award – but the drunk driver still deserves jail time.

    The working poor who make minimum wage have a legitimate reason to use the least expensive transport method like riding an old bike in traffic. But a yuppie on a $6000 racing bike? Hey, Yuppie? Want your bike to go faster? Do like Lance and shoot up steroids.

  12. John VR says:

    That guy “DAVID” is clueless.
    I feel sorry for him.

  13. Hristo says:

    International Law

    Bicycles have the legal status of vehicles.
    Cyclists enjoy the legal status of vehicle operators.
    Vienna Convention Treaty of 1968 signed by United States.

    This is to clarify the redefining of Chicago cyclists as endangered species in need of special protection by means of oppressive measures against other motorists.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The laws of good old physics states that in an argument between a car and a bike the car wins. That’s why a bike is the commuting method of last resort. Otherwise you are asking for it.

    There is a thing with Silicon Valley types (including the Groupon Guy) that they like overpriced racing bicycles that will not increase the speed of the operator by even a furlong per fortnight unless they shoot up steroids.

    If you make a decent buck like the Groupon Guy there is no reason to risk life and limb when you can ride the CTA. He deserved his Darwin Award.

  15. Jeff says:

    City Hall to crackdown on renegade cyclists in Wrigleyville:

    Poetic justice here. The bike nazis thought Rahm gave a shit about them and their agenda. Turns, Rahm sees them as just another revenue opportunity. Welcome to reality, suckers.

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