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Barrington Hills cracking down on cyclists
By Chad Brooks | Daily Herald Staff

A group of bicyclists head north on Bateman Road in Barrington Hills on a recent day. Police say they will be cracking down on riders not following the laws this summer.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Bicyclists riding in Barrington Hills, like these two on Bateman Road, better be obeying the laws this summer. Police said they will be issuing citations to riders not following the rules of the road.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/15/2008 12:02 AM

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The rolling hills and picturesque countryside make Barrington Hills a prime destination for bicycling enthusiasts.

Much to the chagrin of some motorists, police say.

Each weekend, packs of several dozen bicyclists ride throughout town, sometimes as fast as 30 mph.

With the groups growing larger and more competitive, Barrington Hills police Sgt. David Kann said a struggle to claim their piece of the road is breaking out between cyclists and drivers.

"It's a problem," he said. "This is not you and your wife out for a bike ride."

Kann said clusters of cyclists are sometimes longer than an 18-wheel truck and can be intimidating to drivers.

With more and more residents complaining about bicyclists on the roads, Kann said police will make sure this summer the laws are being followed.

"We are going to start enforcing the regulations a lot more sternly (for the cyclists) than in the past," Kann said.

Dean Schott, director of outreach for the League of Illinois Bicyclists, said its imperative riders follow all rules of the road.

"Bicyclists have an obligation to observe laws, show respect and share the road," Schott agreed.

Some of the laws most frequently broken by bicyclists, Schott said, are not stopping for stop signs, not yielding to the right of way, and riding more than two people abreast.

Earlier this month, Kann said a bicyclist who failed to stop at a stop sign was hit by a car and hospitalized at North Buckley and Merri Oaks roads.

He also was cited for not stopping.

The fines, Kann said, are the same as they would be for drivers who don't stop at stop signs.

This week, a Carol Stream bicyclist was killed in Wheaton when he was hit by a car. Police said he was riding against traffic, which is against the law.

The Barrington Bicycle Club, Schaumburg Bicycle Club and Velo Club Roubaix all ride in the Barrington area regularly.

Velo Club Roubaix President Rob Hugi, of Glencoe, said he appreciates the effort police are making to keep the roads safe.

"In our experience, the police take a balanced approach and recognize that cyclists have a right to use the roads, as long we obey the traffic laws," he said. "Our occasional interactions with the police have been friendly and constructive."

Schaumburg Bicycle Club's Joan Willmeth leads a ride through Barrington Hills each week during the summer. She said her group can get as large as 15 riders.

She has no problem with police writing tickets as long as their primary objective is not to rid the village of bikers.

"There should be consequences (for breaking laws), but I don't think they should be doing this if they want us to stop riding there," Willmeth said.

By stepping up enforcement, Kann said, police are not trying to dissuade riding in the village.

"We just want them to follow the rules of the road," he said.

Hugi said riders in his club aim to follow all rules of the road, but admitted they are not perfect. But neither are drivers, he added.

"If we have any complaint, it is that a few drivers seem to think the rules of the road say that cars are always right," he said. "We sometimes catch a little more road rage from drivers than we think we deserve."

Willmeth said she, too, has come in contact with angry drivers.

"Sometimes they don't want you on the road, so they try and scare us," Willmeth said of cars driving too close for comfort.

Neither Hugi or Willmeth said the increased enforcement would discourage them from riding in Barrington Hills.

"There are lots of hills and the roads are nice," Willmeth said. "It is a nice place to ride."

Tips for sharing the road

The League of Illinois Bicyclists has a list of common violations by both riders and drivers.

Bicyclists violations

• Not stopping for red lights and stop signs

• Riding on the wrong side of the road

• They should ride single file, unless riding two abreast does not impede traffic flow

• Not using hand signals

• Not having headlights and rear reflectors when riding at night

• Truck riding, weaving on the road and hitching a ride on a moving vehicle.

• wearing ear phones while cycling.

Motorist violations

• Not passing a bicyclist safely by giving them three feet of space or by passing and then turning right into their path

• Not yielding when making a left turn in front of a bicyclist.

• Opening the door into the path of a bicyclist.

• Not scanning for bicyclists at crosswalks and not stopping at the line.

• Parking in bike lanes.

• Speeding.

Source: League of Illinois Bicyclists