Even though Chicago has a lot of bicycle enthusiasts, we’re still very much an automobile city. Like most major metropolitan areas, Chicago has a lot of bicycle and pedestrian accidents due to the fact that both our streets and traffic laws tend to favor cars and trucks.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already earned points with the bicyclist community by implementing a bike-sharing program, designating bicycle-only lanes and by raising fines on drivers who put bicyclists in danger. But the mayor may have truly secured the favor of bicyclists when he recently came to the aid of a rider injured in a truck accident.
On a morning earlier this month, Mayor Emanuel was picking up coffee near the intersection of Milwaukee, Chicago and Ogden avenues. As many people know, Milwaukee Ave. sees so much bicycle traffic that it has been dubbed “the hipster highway” by some.
The mayor promptly abandoned his coffee run when he heard a loud noise coming from around the corner. When he went to investigate, he reportedly saw a bicyclist who had just been hit by a turning truck. Although she was not badly hurt, Mayor Emanuel kneeled down and stayed with the woman until an ambulance arrived.
While the mayor’s actions didn’t go above and beyond what other many other Chicagoans might do in the same situation, they nonetheless show that he cares about public safety and the issue of bicyclist/pedestrian rights. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Emanuel will redouble his advocacy efforts after witnessing this preventable accident.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Emanuel aids bicyclist after crash on ‘hipster highway’,” John Byrne, Sept. 4, 2013