Notice how when you are out driving the streets of Chicago how bad the other drivers are lately? How they pass you up when you’re already doing the speed limit, cut you off, and maybe even give you the finger, too?
You are not imagining things. As Alex Perez of Active Transportation Alliance said, “as a result of the pandemic, driving has been more reckless—people drive faster and aren’t paying attention to the road as much, and that has caused a number of injuries for people that are walking and biking.”
At least when you are in your car or truck, you have some steel around you. Think about how unprotected bicyclists are, and how much more danger bicycle messengers are in, as they are out on the streets for many hours, in all types of weather.
Bicycle Messenger Day is Saturday, Oct. 9, and they deserve the honor. They have been vital during the pandemic in delivering medicine and other items to people who were not leaving their houses, and they continue to be vital to the economy as they are the only ones who can quickly navigate through Chicago’s ever-increasing traffic to deliver food, documents, medicine, and a wide variety of other products.
We ask all drivers in Chicago to look out for bicyclists and bicycle messengers. Chicago will never go back to the old days, when a bicyclist was a rare sight. There are more and more people bicycling for travel and recreation, and more bicycle messengers working as a vital cog in the city’s economy.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago Works infrastructure plan funds several bicycling improvements. Lightfoot is working on adding more miles of bike lanes to Chicago. If they are separated from the street or raised—“protected” bike lanes—that increases bicyclist safety.
We ask Chicago’s aldermen to support these improvements, and Chicago’s citizens to drive a little more courteously and safely—particularly when sharing the road with bicyclists.