As more bicyclists take to Chicago streets, city says it's working to create safer ride

ByAngela Chen WLS logo
Monday, July 8, 2024 8:01PM
More bikers taking to streets, Chicago working to create safer ride
The Chicago Department of Transportation, or CDOT, says it's working to make the city safer for bike riders, as more bicyclists take to the streets.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Every Wednesday morning, a group of bikers commutes together to the Loop. They call it a "bike bus."

"We would see each other on the road at the same time. And then we decided, wait, what if we did a group ride where other folks can join us?" Bike Grid Now organizer Rony Islam said.

ABC7 Chicago is now streaming 24/7. Click here to watch

Bike Grid Now is an activist organization to raise awareness and compel leaders to implement cyclist- and pedestrian-prioritized roads. According to Replica and the Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago has had the highest increase in bikers across the major cities in the U.S. from fall 2019 to spring 2023.

Currently, Chicago's biking network includes 448 miles of mixed bikeways: bike lanes, greenways, trails and bridges.

"In the last year, we released the Chicago Cycling Strategy, which outlines how we're going to build the best bicycle network in the country, and really continue to grow in terms of the number of people biking," said Dave Smith, director of Complete Streets at CDOT.

SEE ALSO: Evanston sets bar for improved safety on roadways for cyclists in Illinois

Still, biking around the city isn't always a smooth ride.

Ben Fredericks is one cyclist who was hit by a car this past year. He's been biking 10 years in Chicago.

"I was riding down Montrose in the bike lane, and, you know, there's a line of traffic backed up, and somebody needed to turn into the alley. I think they just didn't see me at all," Fredericks said.

The city is working on expanding and connecting bikeways.

"Last year, we released a goal of implementing 150 miles in a couple of years, with 85% of those projects being either protected bike lanes or neighborhood greenways," Smith said.

"I've seen Chicago bring a lot of really cool new infrastructure; I think that's the future of biking in Chicago," Fredericks said.