CPS students deserve bike lane


By Nicole Johnson


Cars zoom past, swerving around me, almost brushing my elbow. Ahead, I must navigate my way around a parked car, cautiously riding dangerously close to the lane of cars speeding past me. Angry drivers honk, furious that I am slowing down their commute as I try to ride as close to the curb as possible. I try not to get in their way.  But is it really my fault?

As one of the dozens of Lane students who bikes to school, I risk a lot more than a tardy on my commute. Without bike lanes, streets like Addison can be scary and dangerous to ride a bike on, with cars flying past at 40 miles an hour or more. So why don’t they put in a bike lane?

Since the year 2000 Chicago has been trying to make its city more biker-friendly; they have created bike lanes on many major streets, like Milwaukee Avenue, which even has a passing lane for bikes. So why doesn’t Addison, with Chicago’s largest high school nestled against it, have a bike lane? Not only would this be a convenience to students, but it would protect all commuters who ride to work and to school on this busy street. The cars ride so close to the curb that there is often no room to ride by on a bike.

Lane’s students come from all over Chicago, from deep in the city to the far west and north, near the suburbs. All of these biking students deserve a safe route to school, which means every busy street in Chicago should have a bike lane. There are also thousands of other CPS students who attend different schools, who all deserve a safe route to school. That is why I think that every busy street in Chicago, especially the ones with a school, should have a bike lane.

Chicago’s Department of Transportation has a Cycling Plan in place “to provide a bicycle accommodation within half-mile of every Chicagoan” by the year 2020, along with 645 miles of biking facilities to be put in place, as shown on the City of Chicago’s official website. This plan was created to achieve Mayor Emanuel’s goal of “making Chicago the best, big city for bicycling in America.” I do not believe that this goal is accurate. Chicago’s students have enough to deal with, like large homework loads, dangerous neighborhoods, and long school days, without having to worry about riding their bike to school. I think that the Department of Transportation needs to step up and take care of the future leaders of their city.

Not only would bike lanes protect the students who already ride their bike to school, but it may also encourage other students to ride their bikes.  It may allow parents, who are too afraid of the dangers of the street, to let their children bike to school. With more bikes on the road, there will be less cars, therefore less pollution, creating a healthier and cleaner city. All of this can be achieved through bike lanes.