How to Drive Chicago: Speeding Tickets 

44. Drive. If you’ve got a lead foot like me it’s good to know who has jurisdiction to pull you over on the roads surrounding your city. Chicago cops cannot stop you on the expressway. That’s Illinois State Trooper territory. The exception is Chicago Transit Police. Their cars look just like Chicago Police cars, but have “Transit Police” labeled on the side. They monitor the “El” stops down the expressways. If you’re zipping along and you see one rolling ahead of you, let up a bit. They can pull you over and ticket you on the expressway. 

Lake Shore Drive – Chicago Police (they sit and radar often). Keep it under 60 mph and your usually fine. 

Chicago Skyway – Chicago police. 

If you have the Waze app, keep it open and most times it will alert you when “police are reported ahead.”  It’s a modern day fuzz buster. 

How to Drive Chicago: Speed in the Express Lanes. 

39. Drive. Speed when you’re driving in the express lanes. They are the best thing about the Kennedy and the Dan Ryan. 

Especially the Kennedy (I 90). If traffic is light and you have the option of the locals or the express, you best speed if you choose the latter.  What’s the point if you’re not going to speed. There’s only 1 spot in that 8 mile stretch where a county mounty can sit and ticket you, but they can be seen from a literal mile away. 

Speed if you opt for the express lanes. Otherwise you’re just in the way.  You wouldn’t stand in the center of an escalator blocking people that want to walk past you on the left. Who would do that.?

Same thing on the highway. If you’re just going to la de da it down the road then stay in the locals and out of my way. I’ve got shit to do. 

How to Drive Chicago: Get Right

34. Drive. There is no standard street width in Chicago. Some side streets are as wide as the Ole Mississip. Others seem to defy the laws of 2 way street physics. Many are so narrow that you and oncoming cars must take turns advancing. You drive a half block then pull over into the gap that leads to the ally. They drive half a block then pull into a gap on there side. Repeat. I have no rules for those types of streets other than just try and be fair. Don’t be the boob that never pulls over and takes his turn waiting. I think as a rule most people are good at this. 

This post is more about the side street that is narrow, yet still wide enough to accommodate fluid 2 way traffic at the same time. It is on these streets that I get a bit perturbed. Scientific studies reveals that 9 out of 10 people are so fearful of clipping their right side mirror with that of a parked car that they would rather drive over the midline of the road and risk colliding with an oncoming car. 

Yeah. No. 

34. Move as far right as possible on narrow, two-way side streets. Better to rub a parked car than one moving towards you in the opposite direction. Refer to the laws of deceleration.

#leaveanote

How to Drive Chicago: Parallel Park

32. Drive. So many city dwellers fail at this simple maneuver. I, for one, am a prodigious parker by parallel. Give me 1 inch clearance from front and back bumper and I’ll slide in there faster than you can say purple rain. I actually have it listed on my resume. 

– Attended Elmhurst College

– Physical Therapist

– ’91 Homecoming King

– Saw Prince live in concert

– Parallel parking god. 

How apropos as most people don’t know that Prince was an amazing parallel parker as well. 

I digress. Learn how to parallel park. I mean go out and practice it if you have to. It’s essential for living in any big city and it’s embarrassing if you can’t get it done quickly.  Use your hazards to clue in cars to the rear that you are parking (a turn signal seems to confuse people behind). Set up directly parallel with the car that will ultimately be in front of you. Reverse. Turn the wheel all the way to the right. One one thousand. two one thousand. Turn the wheel all the way to the left. Boom. Bob’s your uncle. You’re done. 

How to Drive Chicago: Zipper Merges 

23. Drive. All merges are zipper merges. Think about that phrase “zipper merge” and act accordingly. One car from the left. One car from the right. Do not deviate. Left, right, left, right. Whether you are entering the expressway, merging from 2 lanes into 1, or being redirected by construction, do it. It will speed everything up. 

Let people merge in front of you. It won’t ruin your life. 

How to Drive Chicago: Doored

20.  Survive.  More than 25,000 people use bicycles to commute each day in Chicago. The city has more than 200 miles of protected bike lanes.  This post, however, is once again about drivers. Obviously, general awareness of bicyclists in large cities is paramount. Let’s get more specific. After parking, before exiting your vehicle take five seconds and look at all your mirrors.  By gosh even turn your head around.  Look to see if there are any bikers zipping by on your left.  They can materialize from the ether in a blink. We MUST be heedful of them.  I’ve heard many, horrific accounts on what a car door can do to human on a bike. Like involuntarily manslaughter them. 

Chicago Ordinance 9-80-035 states 

“No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”

Hitting a rider, or forcing them into a collision with another vehicle can result in $1000 fine, but obviously it can do much worse. 

A good habit for drivers would be to open your door with your right hand, forcing you to turn your head to the left. 

Please try it. 

P.S. The news is reporting that a car has lost control and careened onto a sidewalk in Times Square. 

Refer to my January archives. Blog Entry #3. 

How to Drive Chicago: honk, beep, baaa

18.  Drive.  Automobile horns exist to alert people who are about to collide. They are not, much to your surprise, fuck you buttons. Resist honking at transgressors several seconds after an illegal move just because you didn’t like it. That’s annoying for everyone. We all know they were wrong. Get over it. Now, a tractor trailor is about to merge on top of you crushing you and your ninos to death….horn. Definitely horn. Someone’s a little slow to accelerate at a green light…. patience.