What about Boub?
[Placeholder entry. Eeps, I've got lots of catching up to do. Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana, and so on. Title
To paraphrase Lord Kelvin (everyone does), there remains a dark cloud over bicycle policy in Illinois. You see, before there was Complete Streets, there was Boub.
A letter to the Daily Herald nicely summarizes the situation:
Do more to assure safe bicycling
"We have many legislators and local civic leaders to thank for the many miles of safe and marked bicycle lanes and trails throughout Illinois. These people deserve our thanks and votes every chance we get.
"Most of these citizens get it because they also enjoy riding their bicycles for their hearts, waistline, gas savings, pure enjoyment, etc.
"Unfortunately, we have several leaders frozen by an Illinois Supreme Court decision called Boub v. Wayne, 1998. My take is that this decision tells governments that they will only be responsible for a bicyclist's safety if it marks a roadway as a bike route. Many local governments have now taken the stance that if they do nothing and a cyclist is injured or killed, oh well.
"Enough of them have thwarted Illinois' legislature from enacting sensible laws that would encourage road safety to include bicyclists.
"The governor changed a bill before him that would have required state road improvements to include a safe way for bicyclists and pedestrians to one that permits a safe way. The governor wants health care, but is putting cyclists' well-being at risk -- either by injury or driving instead of riding.
"The governor did sign important legislation that was thoroughly supported by our legislators. It requires bicyclists to ride as safely as possible to the right and for automobiles to give us 3 feet when passing. Thankfully, most bicyclists and most drivers are courteous to each other. Re-striping roadways to give the right lane an extra foot or two from the center lane or converting narrow four-lane roads to three with a dual center turn lane and bike lanes on the edges would be great way to get more people on their bikes.
"Find out where your leaders stand and vote. Get out there and ride.
"I also hope that Mr./Ms. Boub is healthy and enjoying bicycle riding. I have only recently heard of this case, but only from the effect on leaders' withdrawal from being bicycle friendly."
[Tip o' the helmet to bike>>blog.]
I've remained quiet on Boub for two reasons: I considered it to be an issue that was before my time, and I never quite understood what the heck it was about anyway. Both reasons are bullshit, of course. It's been almost a decade now since the Boub v. Wayne decision, but the passage of time in no way diminishes the great need for a legislative solution to the problems that have sprung up in its wake. The effects on local bike policy in Illinois have been, well, devastating. And there's never any excuse for ignoring something just because it's complicated.*
So, what's all the fuss about?
[I'll have to leave you with that cliffhanger because I've got too much Real Work to do today. LIB has background on the Boub bills here.]
*Don't let the legalese scare you away, either--plenty of my peers ended up in law school for lack of anything better to do with their English majors and theater experience, so I've concluded that they only use all that incomprehensible Latin-sprinkled mumbo-jumbo because there are so few things in the world less intimidating than a well-read drama queen.