Bicycling in Chicago has experienced a significant boom in recent years, with more and more Chicagoans choosing to bike as a safe, affordable, sustainable, healthy, and fun mode of transportation. The City of Chicago has invested heavily in expanding and enhancing bike infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of cyclists.
The Chicago Cycling Strategy, released by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in Spring 2023, outlines a community-driven approach to further expanding the city’s bike network. The strategy aims to create a more equitable, safe, and inviting city for cyclists.
Chicago’s bike network currently boasts over 500 miles of on-street bikeways and off-street trails, and the rate at which low-stress routes (protected bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, off-street trails) are growing is outpacing overall network growth. The city is focused on providing a connected network serving all neighborhoods and Chicagoans, developing neighborhood-specific bike networks, and offering low-stress options to ensure everyday cycling is safe and convenient for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
CDOT plans to design and implement 150 miles of new bikeways in the coming years, including upgrading existing bikeways, filling network gaps, and expanding the bike network into more neighborhoods. Projects such as the Augusta protected bike lanes, Clark Street protected bike lanes, and Milwaukee Avenue protected bike lanes are among the active projects highlights that aim to improve cycling infrastructure in key corridors throughout Chicago. By investing in bike infrastructure, Chicago aims to make cycling a more accessible and viable transportation option for all residents.
- Chicago has experienced a significant increase in bike ridership in recent years.
- The City of Chicago has invested heavily in expanding and enhancing bike infrastructure.
- The Chicago Cycling Strategy aims to create a more equitable, safe, and inviting city for cyclists.
- The current bike network in Chicago includes over 500 miles of on-street bikeways and off-street trails.
- CDOT plans to design and implement 150 miles of new bikeways in the coming years.
The Expanding Bikeway Network in Chicago: A Hub for Cyclists
The expansion of Chicago’s bikeway network has been a key focus for the city in recent years. Since 2010, the bicycle infrastructure has more than doubled, and the pace of network growth is increasing. The expansion has largely focused on neighborhoods that were previously underserved by the bike network, with approximately 75% of the network growth occurring on the south and west sides of the city.
In alignment with the Chicago Cycling Strategy, the city aims to continue this expansion by designing and implementing 150 miles of new bikeways in the coming years. The strategy emphasizes the importance of creating a connected network that serves all neighborhoods and Chicagoans. It also prioritizes providing low-stress options to make everyday cycling safe and convenient for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
The existing bikeway network in Chicago includes over 400 miles of on-street bikeways and off-street paths. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) releases an official Chicago Bike Map every spring, which provides updated information on the network. The network comprises various facilities such as protected bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, buffered bike lanes, marked shared lanes, and off-street trails. By prioritizing the safety and needs of both cyclists and motorists, Chicago is actively enhancing its transportation infrastructure for cyclists and ensuring their safety on the roads.
The Growth of the Bikeway Network
Chicago’s bikeway network has witnessed significant growth in recent years as the city strives to accommodate the increasing number of cyclists. Since 2010, the network has more than doubled in size, demonstrating the city’s commitment to expanding bike infrastructure. This growth is particularly notable in neighborhoods that were previously underserved, ensuring that the benefits of cycling are accessible to all Chicagoans.
With approximately 75% of the network growth occurring on the south and west sides of the city, CDOT’s efforts have helped bridge the gap in bike infrastructure across different neighborhoods. This expansion not only provides better transportation options for residents but also promotes healthier and more sustainable modes of travel.
A Connected and Safe Network
The Chicago Cycling Strategy further emphasizes the importance of creating a connected network that serves all neighborhoods. By designing and implementing 150 miles of new bikeways, CDOT aims to enhance connectivity for cyclists and improve accessibility throughout the city.
To ensure the safety of cyclists, the city’s bikeway network includes various facilities, such as protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways. These infrastructure improvements prioritize the separation of cyclists from vehicular traffic, reducing the risk of accidents and creating a safer environment for both cyclists and motorists.
Promoting Sustainable Transportation
Chicago’s expanding bikeway network plays a crucial role in promoting sustainable transportation. By providing an extensive network of bike infrastructure, the city encourages more residents to adopt cycling as a mode of transportation, reducing reliance on cars and contributing to a greener, more eco-friendly city.
The continued investment in bike infrastructure showcases Chicago’s commitment to creating a vibrant and cyclist-friendly city. By prioritizing the expansion of the bikeway network, Chicago aims to become a hub for cyclists, offering safe and convenient options for transportation, recreation, and leisure activities.
The Challenges and Concerns for Cyclists in Chicago
As a cyclist in Chicago, you may face various challenges and safety concerns while commuting on the city’s streets. Unfortunately, there have been over 1,600 cyclist-involved accidents in Chicago in 2023 alone, with more than 400 of them being hit-and-run incidents. These accidents can result in injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to more severe fractures.
The costs associated with these accidents can be significant, including bike repairs, medical bills, and lost wages. To address these concerns and ensure the safety of both cyclists and motorists, many cyclists believe that the city needs to prioritize the improvement of its bike infrastructure. Studies have shown that the implementation of more protected and separated bike facilities can lower the risk of crashes and enhance safety for everyone on the roads.
Chicago’s Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries, plays a crucial role in addressing these challenges. By continuously improving bike infrastructure, increasing awareness among motorists, and implementing comprehensive safety measures, Chicago can become a safer city for cyclists. It is essential for the city to invest in redesigning bike infrastructure and prioritizing the safety needs of all road users.
By acknowledging these challenges, working towards infrastructure improvements, and fostering a culture of safety, Chicago can create a more cyclist-friendly environment. Together, we can strive towards making cycling a safer and enjoyable mode of transportation for everyone in the Windy City.