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EDITORIAL: Set a speed limit on the Lakefront Trail so we can shout ‘Slow down!’

A limit of 20 miles an hour would, at the very least, make speedy cyclists more safety conscious.

Chicago’s Lakefront Trail. A construction project has been completed to alleviate areas of congestion by separating the Lakefront Trail into two distinct paths, a biking trail and a pedestrian trail. | Provided photo
A section of the Lakefront Trail, which is now separated into two distinct paths for bikers and walkers.
Provided photo

Cops in Chicago have enough to do without writing up bike riders on the lakefront for speeding.

All the same, there oughta be a law.


The Chicago Park District has decided against setting a speed limit on the newly revamped lakefront path because there would be no practical way to enforce the limit. But nobody disagrees speed-demons are a problem, cutting in and out and roaring past the Divvy riders, rollerbladers and joggers.

As many as 30,000 people a day use the 18.5-mile trail, and crashes are not uncommon, especially between Berwyn Avenue on the North Side and Illinois Street near Navy Pier, according to the Active Transportation Alliance, a biking advocacy group.

As a rule, we don’t like laws that are impractical to enforce. But sometimes, as with anti-littering laws, they can be effective as part of an effort at public education. Set a limit of 20 miles an hour on the bike path, as the Alliance is calling for, and you can bet more users will feel empowered to shout at the speedsters, “Hey, slow down!”

A small fine makes sense, as well, for when the occasion arises.

Mostly, though, this is about changing the culture of the bike path — a little more courtesy and a little less Mad Maxing — through good old-fashioned shaming.

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