(CBS) — Bikers are everywhere now. And maybe some of them think they own the road.
CBS 2 cameras spent hours catching the chaos of drivers, bikers and pedestrians on the streets. So, who’s to blame and who’s getting a bad rap?READ MORE: First Case Of Brazil Variant Of COVID-19 Confirmed In Illinois
It is for many pedestrians a daily dilemma. Dee Jackson says she sees it all the time. She and other pedestrians are dodging dangers stemming from what some call a trend of bad biking behavior.
“Some of them are really rude, you know. Some of them are not following the stop signs and so forth,” agrees Ernie Castillo.
And, when bikers and pedestrians meet head on, it can be devastating. Just ask Megan Williams.
She knows the danger more than most. She sustained serious brain injuries during a lakeside job when she was struck by a bicycle from behind. She woke up in the hospital the next day.
“The doctors say he was probably going 20 miles an hour,” Williams says.
Avid biker John Greenfield of Streetsblog Chicago calls that incident the exception. He believes most on two wheels follow the rules without feeling more entitled to the road than anyone else.
He thinks cyclists get a bad rap. Cars, he says, are the bigger threat to pedestrians.READ MORE: 1 Dead, 2 Injured In I-57 Expressway Shooting Near 119th Street
“A 200-pound bicycle rider and bike, compared to a 2-ton car – obviously, there’s no comparison in the amount of danger,” Greenfield says.
Still, the danger from bikes is there. Online videos from all over the world show how rough a collision can be.
Here in Chicago, the number of citations given to bikers has more than doubled over the past two years. It has jumped from fewer than 1,400 in 2012 to more than 3,600 so far this year. Most of those tickets are for riding on sidewalks and on the wrong roads.
“In modern history, there’s never been anyone killed by a bicyclist in Chicago,” Greenfield argues.
That’s not to say there haven’t been close calls though and not always the biker’s fault. For eight hours over four days, CBS 2 watched a busy intersection in the Loop. Drivers behaved badly, and pedestrians walked in designated bike lanes, putting themselves in harm’s way.
But dozens of bikers rode recklessly, too.
“People are too much in a hurry. Nobody has respect for everybody else,” pedestrian John Arias says.
Collisions with bikes have killed two people in New York this year.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: Are Relief Payments Bad For The Economy?
CBS 2 asked police why more bikers are not ticketed for offenses like running red lights but got no answer. Illinois has the fifth-highest rate of bicyclist fatalities in the nation, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.