2 serious accidents highlight bike safety

June 11, 2008 4:22:04 AM PDT
There have been two serious accidents involving bicycle riders in Chicago in the last two days.Many people are sounding a new warning about safety and sharing the road.

A man was struck and killed Monday night while riding in a bike lane in Chicago's River North neighborhood, according to police.

On Tuesday, a CTA bus struck and injured a bicyclist on the city's North Side in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.

It's estimated the number of cyclists on the road in the Chicago area has increased ten times in the last eight years even more recently with gas prices. There are new laws to protect cyclist. But even with new legislation, drivers are urged to use caution for their sake and the safety of others on the road.

A ghost bike marks the last place Clinton Miceli, 22, rode his bike.

"When you got to know him, he was just hilarious and full of life. He had everything going for him in this world. For him to go, it's just a shock for all of us," said Rob Mach, Clinton Miceli's roommate.

Miceli was a graphic designer. He was riding his bike home from work Monday evening. A man in an SUV opened his car door in front of Miceli. Miceli was thrown into the path of oncoming traffic. He died from head injuries.

"He just got into it this last summer, getting around the city. He thought it was a great mode of transportation. He was very careful about it," said Mach.

On Tuesday morning at the intersection of Broadway and Patterson, another cyclist was hit. Chicago police say the CTA bus driver attempted to pass the bike. The cyclist survived that crash.

"People are out there driving with cell phones. People are out there driving, not paying attention, not being prepared to stop, not being prepared to watch," said Rob Sadowsky, executive director, Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.

Sadowsky says motorists need appreciate the consequences of sharing the road.

"The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation is outraged at these incidents. It's an incredible loss of lives because people are not paying attention," he said.

Many cyclists have tales of near misses with vehicles and some weren't that lucky.

"I think they veered to avoid another car and just went kind of into the bike lane and knocked me over. I went up and over my handlebars," said Stephen Hill.

"I bike to work every day, close calls every day, I would say," said Nikki Zimmerman.

"It's usually people not paying attention or thinking they can out-speed you around the corner or something and turn right in front of you," said Jennifer Gutowski.

In the incident Tuesday morning, the CTA bus driver was cited and suspended by the CTA.

The driver who opened the door in front of Miceli Monday night was also ticketed. A wake and funeral for Miceli are planned for later this week.


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