Mayor Lori Lightfoot nearly apologized Wednesday after taking a beating from bicyclists and their city council allies for letting her security team park two SUVs on a busy bike path as she ran into a North Side donut shop.
“Of course they shouldn’t have parked on a bike path. Very easy. No bike paths. No hydrants. They shouldn’t have done it. Period,” the mayor said of her bodyguard detail and security car.
During the pandemic, Lightfoot defended herself against accusations of hypocrisy after photos surfaced on social media showing her getting her hair cut without wearing a mask at a time when beauty salons were shutting down.
There was renewed social media backlash when the advocacy group Bike Lane Uprising posted a photo last week of a mayor’s SUV parked on the bike lane outside Roeser’s Bakery, 3216 W. North Ave., and another of Lightfoot waiting in line at the bakery.
The cyclist who took the photos and gave them to the advocacy group posted online that she saw Lightfoot’s entourage (2 XL SUVs) parked on the North Ave bike path for 10 minutes. For some damn doughnuts. Unreal.”
Bike Lane Uprising then tweeted to the mayor, “Parking on bike lanes so you can get donuts means you value donuts over cyclists’ lives. A RECORD NUMBER OF CYCLISTS WAS KILLED DURING YOUR TERM. We need a mayor who leads by example. This isn’t it.”
Hi @chicagosmayor parking on bike lanes so you can get donuts means you value donuts over cyclists’ lives. A RECORD NUMBER OF CYCLISTS WAS KILLED DURING YOUR TERM. We need a mayor who leads by example. This isn’t it. pic.twitter.com/U4JpQdzPhw
— Bike Lane Uprising® (@bikelaneuprise) November 9, 2022
The incident was first reported Wednesday morning by Block Club Chicago.
It shows her true nature. … She doesn’t set a good precedent,” Christina Whitehouse, founder of Bike Lane Uprising, told the Sun-Times.
Parking on bike lanes, which Whitehouse called a “safe space” for cyclists, is particularly dangerous.
“By blocking cycle paths, it forces [cyclists] to get around in faster-moving traffic that doesn’t expect them to be there,” Whitehouse said. “You are forced into traffic that will probably be angry with you, aggressive, possibly trying to hit you on purpose. It has been proven to kill.”
While some intersections in the city are known to have more accidents than others, and more and more people are taking up cycling since the pandemic, the “reality everywhere is pretty dangerous right now”.
She said that Lightfoot “ran a lot of terrain and stated that she was pro cycling and she was going to do all these great things for cycling…and what we’ve seen is she hasn’t.”
Lightfoot announced earlier this year that Chicago would add 25 miles of concrete-protected bike lanes by December 31 and convert all plastic-protected bike lanes to concrete barriers by the end of 2023. bike lanes, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.
North Side Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th, who also expressed outrage at the incident, said the Lightfoot government opposed his proposal. the accident that killed 3-year-old Lily Grace Shambrook.
On June 9, the toddler was riding in a carriage tied to her mother’s bicycle when she was hit and killed by a semi truck. Her mother maneuvered around a ComEd truck that was blocking the bike path. The traffic accident — one of three fatal incidents in June that hit and killed children on the streets of Chicago — occurred in a busy Uptown block that had sparked a barrage of complaints from local residents.
“Even when we tried to move legislation to get it done through the Transportation Commission, the administration has blocked us left and right,” Vasquez told the Sun-Times on Wednesday.
After the donut shop episode, Vasquez said, “I am concerned about how seriously this government is taking infrastructure and transportation, knowing that we have more cyclists. And it’s really not the best thing to send a signal to Chicago that they should do, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’”
Outgoing chairman of the Transportation Committee, Howard Brookins (21st), questioned why Lightfoot allowed her to defy the law that prohibits motorists from stopping and standing on bike lanes, especially when “the bodyguards could have dropped her off at the bakery, the block circled and came back. around to pick her up.
“The message is a message of duplicity. It doesn’t set a good example as a leader of this city and especially as someone who believes in the Green Revolution,” Brookins said.
Brookins said the crackdown proposed by Vasquez stalled in his committee because Chicago Department of Transportation officials had “some objection to the language,” even though they agree with the thrust of the legislation.
“I plan to move on to that soon if they can’t seem to pull it off,” the chairman said.
The police do not immediately want to say how many fines have been issued this year for blocking cycle paths. Of the 32,500 Chicago bike lane obstacles reported to Bike Lane Uprising, nearly 7% were municipal vehicles, according to data on the group’s website.
Ald downtown. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, said there is “no good excuse” for violating the law that prohibits standing, loading or parking on bike lanes in Chicago “whether you work for the Postal Service, Amazon or mayor of Chicago.”
“Buying donuts is certainly not a good reason to endanger cyclists’ lives,” Reilly wrote in an email to the Sun-Times.