Chicago police training video promotes bicycle safety, respect

Posted by on September 14th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Streetsblog alerted us to this just-released training video for traffic enforcement officers in Chicago’s police department.

It’s worth watching — in about ten minutes, it even-handedly explains the laws that govern both driving and bicycling in Chicago, with the frame of increasing bicycling safety as much as possible, and promoting a culture of respect on the roads.

Traffic Enforcement for Bicyclist Safety from Chicago Bicycle Program on Vimeo.

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The video points out the responsibility of people driving cars (Chicago has a number of laws that are specific to driving around bicycles, with special attention to intersections, passing, and dooring), the responsibilities of people riding bikes (these are: yielding to pedestrians, riding with traffic, and proper lighting), and how police officers should handle crashes involving bikes.

The traffic arm of the Portland Police is working on an internal training video about bicycles as well — rumor has it that it’ll be released this week. We’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.

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Speedlinking 17 September 2009 :: Treadly and Mehemp22N.I.K.DonnaElise Recent comment authors
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Elise
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Elise

This is really interesting to me, a Portlander in Chicago on business for a long trip. I’ve been bike commuting here in Chicago for about a month. Most of the drivers are courteous, but the cab drivers and pedestrians are not. Every single day I encounter the following:
1) Cab who passes with less than three feet.
2) Cab parked in bike lane.
3) Pedestrian who randomly wanders into bike lane, or jogger in bike lane.

The cyclists are not always courteous either…I see at least two cyclists riding the wrong direction in a bike lane EVERY day. I’ll also be sitting at a red light and often see a cyclist come up behind me, enter the intersection and weave in and out of moving (!) cars who have the green light coming from the right and left to get to the other side.

These are things I see pretty rarely in PDX…maybe it’s because I spend more time on bike boulevards at home, but the culture feels very different here. They even use the staple racks differently.

Anyway, thanks so much for posting this!

Donna
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Donna

I thought San Francisco’s police training video was really good – this one is 10x better.

N.I.K.
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N.I.K.

Apart from the part where these laws are enforced, it’s a pretty accurate portrayal of what it’s like to ride here in Chicago. I still get right turns in front of me when I’m taking the right lane at an intersection, but on the other hand, I find that less than 5% of drivers here are dangerously unaware and/or hostile. I think this is because we’ve actually got a lot of people biking here…not as blatant as PDX, but in a town this size, there’s still a good concentration of riders out there March to mid-November. Things picked up like crazy summer ’09 and it seems the not-so-hot economy has kept roping people in since.

I’ll also say I’ve never seen bike-targeted enforcement actions here like I did in PDX. We could probably use something, as wrong-ways and not-even-yielding signal jumpers are pretty common. I just don’t know how it could be successfully implemented – the problem probably isn’t so much mode as user. There are the same idiots who get in their cars and catch reds late and go the wrong way around small traffic circles without thinking twice about it…

All the same: great video. Biking in Chicago is not too huge of an ordeal (unless you’re on Western or Ashland for more than a block or two!).

N.I.K.
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N.I.K.

Whoops. Make that “less than 5% of the drivers I deal with on my daily commute to the shop, approximately”. 😀

N.I.K.
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N.I.K.

Oh, and make that summer ’08. I must practice this so-called “typing” thing.

hemp22
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hemp22

This is a great thing for the Chicago PD to have done. It would make me extremely grateful if the Portland PD would take the time to do the same thing – just make the same educational video, and tailor it to Portland’s/Oregon’s laws. If the PPD doesn’t do it, it would be a great if the BTA would – this is just the sort of education that they should be doing.