Chicago raises fines for parking in bike lanes after 4 children killed in summer incidents

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Thursday, December 15, 2022
City passes bike lane ordinance after summer child deaths
The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance raising fines for parking in bike lanes after at least four children were killed over the summer.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday raising fines and penalties for parking in bike lanes, as well as requiring other safety measures, after at least four children were killed over the summer.

Six months ago, 3-year-old Elizabeth Grace Shambrook, who was known as Lily, was killed in Uptown after the bike she and her mother were on, which they were riding in a bike lane, was clipped by a semi.

READ MORE: Toddler, 3, killed after struck by semi-truck on North Side while in bike child carrier

A Com Ed truck was parked in the bike lane that day, causing Shambrook's mother to swerve into traffic, where she was hit. Lily was dragged 20 feet by the semi.

"There are too many stories in the city of children two, three, six years old dying, and crashes that are utterly and completely preventable," said 1st Ward Alderman Daniel La Spata.

"Ill-informed traffic decisions by the city could have been prevented with intentional focus on accountability in the creation of safe and protected bike lanes," said 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez.

RELATED: Chicago to add concrete barriers to all protected bike lanes by end of 2023

At least four children were killed in accidents involving vehicle sin the summer of 2022, including 2-year-old Rafi Cardenas who was struck by a vehicle in Lincoln Square while riding a scooter. His grieving mother said he would have turned three last week.

"Losing your child destroys you, destroys your family, and the community is where this happens. His death was part of a pattern that happens on Chicago streets," mother Marina Ross said.

The ordinance raises parking fines in bike lanes to $250 from $150, and require crews impeding lanes for work to set up warning signs well before riders encounter blocked bike lanes.

RELATED: Chicago residents call for safer streets after 2 young kids killed in cycling accidents days apart

Biking advocates say drivers need to know that someone hit at 30 miles per hour has only a 50% chance of survival.

"That is even lower if they are hit by someone who is driving an SUV," said Courtney Cobbs, safe streets advocate.

"They should hold themselves accountable, and if they can't do that then the city should hold them accountable," Ross said.