OK, I’ll admit this is just my own personal preference—I tried to get something like a broader consensus, but a citywide geographical analysis of bike accidents isn’t available quite yet. However, Brian Steele, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, assures me an “in-depth study and reduction report” is in the works; it may reveal areas that see the most accidents involving cyclists, among other data. But if the stretch of Milwaukee Avenue between Damen and Ashland isn’t in the top ten, I’ll eat my helmet.
We do know the city has seen an increase in bike accidents for which police reports were filed since 2005—from 1,234 that year to 1,726 in 2008, the most recent year for which stats are available. As for 2009, well, all I know so far is that two bike vs. car incidents involved yours truly. The aforementioned congested shopping district is part of my daily bike commute to and from the Reader. On the morning of January 2 (yeah, I pretend sometimes to ride year-round), I was heading southeast on Milwaukee nearing the intersection with Honore when the pilot of a VW Beetle facing the same direction I was decided to make a u-turn directly out of her parking spot and head northwest. Result: hairline fracture in my left kneecap, a permanent queer sensation every time I go running, and about $250 in repairs at Boulevard Bikes. Later that year, on the afternoon of August 28, I was heading northwest at the very same intersection when a Hyundai Accent turned left from Milwaukee onto Honore and neglected to acknowledge my existence as part of the city’s transportation construct. Result: fractured right wrist and another $250 or so in repairs. My only comfort is that in both cases, just seconds prior to impact, I was able to rapidly bellow obscenities and hear them reverberate off the walls of the surrounding buildings.
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