City says Dearborn bike signals keeping cyclists in line

"It says left on green only. Unless you are blind or you don't know how to read, both of which cases you don't need to be behind the wheel, you will have drivers sitting there, cabbies especially, blowing their horn like, 'Move on!' Move on for what? You can't move on until the light changes. I see a lot of that."

Tougher laws now on the books may help everyone go with the flow, if the laws are matched by enforcement. The Chicago City Council last week increased fines for bicyclists who flout traffic laws. Current fines of $25 for all minor traffic offenses will increase to between $50 and $200, depending on the violation.

Motorists who endanger bicyclists also face stiffer penalties under the amended traffic laws, officials said. The fine for leaving a vehicle door open in traffic doubles to $300. The fine for opening a vehicle door in the path of a cyclist also doubles, to $1,000. Some 250 "dooring" accidents were reported in the city last year.

Last year in the city, 1,675 crashes between vehicles and bicycles were reported, police said.

CDOT is set to begin another experiment on Friday — a bicycle-sharing rental service aimed at putting more bicycles on city streets, in part to provide a new option to commuters making connections at CTA and Metra rail stations.

The program, called Divvy, will start with 40 docking stations downtown, expanding to 75 stations by the end of June, 300 by the end of August and a total of 400, including in some city neighborhoods, by next spring, CDOT said.

"Knowing that one of the biggest fears many people have about riding to work is the feeling it's less than safe to bicycle in the Loop, we wanted to have a major thoroughfare for bikes ahead of the bike-share launch," Klein said.

He said the city has a heightened responsibility to provide safe routes for cyclists with the introduction of bike-sharing, which will be managed by a private contractor, Alta Bicycle Share Inc.

More protected bicycle lanes are scheduled for installation this summer, including on heavily biked sections of Milwaukee Avenue and Clybourn Street, according to CDOT.

The city currently has about 30 miles of protected and buffered bike lanes, more than 130 miles of standard bike lanes marked by pavement stripes and about 40 miles of marked shared vehicle-bike lanes, CDOT said.

Contact Getting Around at jhilkevitch@tribune.com or c/o the Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611; on Twitter @jhilkevitch; and at facebook.com/jhilkevitch. Read recent columns at chicagotribune.com/gettingaround.

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