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.
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.
37. Drive. Commuting on the expressway through or around downtown during rush hour (which is every hour) can be nauseating. Expressways are very much like flowing rivers with slow pockets and fast-moving channels. These correspond directly to which side cars are entering and exiting the highway from. Move to the lanes that lead to highway exits. Less cars mean faster speeds. Avoid the side of the highway that has entrance ramps. More cars equals….. you get the point. The difference in how quickly you zip through traffic can be drastic. That stretch of exits and entrances can go on for several miles and then unexpectedly flip sides. Know where those changes occur and move to that side accordingly.
35. Drive. Chi-town is brimming with one-way streets. Busy one-way streets. Populous cities come with loads of crime. This means police chases. Always look in both directions when crossing a one-way street in your vehicle. Peering only in the direction traffic is supposed to be coming from won’t get it done. Drivers fleeing the po po will take any route possible which means all bets are off on one-way streets. They could blow you up in an instant if you’re not looking for them.
31. Drive. There are 1.8 million potholes in Chicago proper. Do not swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid them. Come on. I’m astonished at how often I see this. If you need to avoid a pothole or any obstruction in your lane, slow down and do it cautiously . You may actually have to wait for oncoming traffic to pass before you maneuver around your pothole. Do not swerve to the left into approaching traffic at full speed causing the driver opposite you to hammer on their brakes. That is just acutely ignorant. The issue is on your side of the road. You’re the one that must yield.
29. Drive. You’re inching along in traffic. You’re on the text machine. You get into a fender bender while on the expressway. Use your mirrors to acknowledge each other and then… MOVE YOUR CARS TO THE SHOULDER !!! Do not, I repeat, do not sit in the center lane waiting for the police to arrive and determine who’s at fault. There is no forensic science in this. Police do not need to see the exact position and location of the cars. You are ruining everyone’s morning by causing a huge back up. People are going to be late for work because of you. They are going to miss their flight because of you. Children will die…because of you.
Be smart. Use your brain. And yeah, don’t text while driving blah blah blah.
28. Drive. Chicago is a city of alleys. A great deal of us drive in them daily. To exit an alley and enter the street a car must cross a sidewalk fairly blindly. Do it slowly and cautiously with your head on a swivel. Do not punch your car horn twice and zip on out. It startles oncoming pedestrians and irritates the local homeowners. You may think that you’re doing people on foot a service, but I think it’s lazy. Hitting the horn is not an excuse to swiftly exit the ally. Walkers with headphones blaring may not hear it. There’s only 1 prudent way to do this and that’s as slowly as possible. No horn needed.
We’ve already covered this I guess… car horns are irksome.
27. Drive. When merging into thick expressway traffic from an on-ramp, pick out a car in front of you that’s trying to do the same thing. Let them do your dirty work for you. Once she’s fought her car into traffic pull in front of her and do the same thing. She just did it so chances are she’ll let you in no problem and you don’t need to deal with all the angry drivers behind you. Let’s call it merge guilt.
Drawing by Wilson
Back in my sports radio listening days the renowned commentator Tony Kornheiser used to sign his show off with “If your’e out on your bike tonight, do wear white”. Initially it struck me as a peculiar way to end a sports show. As time passed however, I began to really appreciate what I thought was a solid and unique public service announcement. Later I heard that it was more a tribute to the Rolling Stones tune “Something Happened To Me Yesterday”.
Blah, blah blah…..who cares. I’ve been observing bike riders during dusk, early and full evening for years now. I must continue to pass the advice on. If you are out on your bike tonight, do wear white. It makes a shocking difference in your visibility to drivers. Bike reflectors do not get the job done. It’s stunning how often I see people young and not young zipping around the neighborhood in black T-shirts and dark shorts. They appear from nowhere. Drivers cannot see you until they are figuratively on top of you. An easy way to keep that statement from going literal would be to throw on a white T-shirt before you head out on your high wheel. Give yourself a fighting chance.
Dedicated to Philando.
Fear is not an excuse for murder.
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.