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  1. #1
    traffic dodger
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    horse drawn carriages - chicago

    I've never had a problem with horse-drawn carriages before. I was working Saturday afternoon just made a delivery up at the aon building, getting ready to go home, coming down the hill from Randolph towards Michigan. After dodging the scores of pedestrians crossing the street against the light, without regard to the bike, going through a green light, bearing down at 30mph. I moved to the second lane to avoid the row of horse drawn carriages prepping to clog up streets later in the day. With a red light at state, I moved between the first and 2nd lanes to get to the front of the traffic and make a right turn. (carriages were lined up in the right lane) Without looking, one of the horse-carriage prep girls darts into the street, forcing me into the back of a cab. Then she freaks out:

    "OH MY GOD DID HE HIT YOU? DID THAT CAB HIT YOU" she started signaling a cop. Just what I needed. There was not much damage and both the cabbie and I wanted to get out of there. I told her that she should look when she darts into the street in the future. (not in such nice words).

    Anyways I donít understand why the city allows these people to set up shop in a busy street and spend an hour prepping their horses and cleaning out their carriages right downtown. A car or bike stops for a second blocking a lane and they're moved on and possibly ticketed. Maybe Iím off base or overreacting, but Iím not sure its so safe. Any other opinions or Carriage stories?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Who cleans up behind the horses? I guess dodging their "exhaust" is just one more hazard to keep an eye out for.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by samg
    Anyways I donít understand why the city allows these people to set up shop in a busy street and spend an hour prepping their horses and cleaning out their carriages right downtown. A car or bike stops for a second blocking a lane and they're moved on and possibly ticketed. Maybe Iím off base or overreacting, but Iím not sure its so safe. Any other opinions or Carriage stories?
    We have loads of horse carriages in New York City (around Central Park) and you have to be very careful when crossing these ox carts. While I don't consider them a danger because they move very slowly, but still pose a problem when mixing with other traffic. I treat these ox carts just like I would a bus, with caution.

    If you get two or three of these carriages behind one another, they move slower than a critical mass ride! Yet these boys and girls riding those horse carriages can make about 70 - 100 K a year. The city takes their cut so that's why they are allowed.
    Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 12-14-04 at 12:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member vincenzosi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    The city takes their cut so that's why they are allowed.
    Give that man a cigar... We have a winner!
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  5. #5
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    samg,

    I'll only comment I'll make is that your actions of running lights, and going inbetween lanes etc. only gives bicycling a black eye. I'll know, you're a messenger and therefore it is okay to break every traffic law in order to make a buck.

  6. #6
    Chronic Tai Shan ofofhy's Avatar
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    Careful though, some cities have laws (at least referring to cars) about how to deal with horse drawn carriages in traffic. I bleieve most of the laws favor the horse. I have no idea if this applies to bikes.
    From Craig's List: IF its a singlespeed that means----all the other parts are broken cut off and dumped...dont buy singlespeeds, the bikes will make your balls fall off

    * no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

  7. #7
    Senior Member vincenzosi's Avatar
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    Everything gets a one up on bikes in this country, or so it seems

    Seriously, I think you're probably right. The animal rights lobbyists have gone through great pains to make sure those horses are well taken care of, so as ofohy says, be careful...
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  8. #8
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    samg,

    I'll only comment I'll make is that your actions of running lights, and going inbetween lanes etc. only gives bicycling a black eye. I'll know, you're a messenger and therefore it is okay to break every traffic law in order to make a buck.
    OOOOOOO, it's the bike police....

  9. #9
    Bent_Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    samg,

    I'll only comment I'll make is that your actions of running lights, and going inbetween lanes etc. only gives bicycling a black eye. I'll know, you're a messenger and therefore it is okay to break every traffic law in order to make a buck.

    If you read his post, he did not run any lights.

  10. #10
    traffic dodger
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    samg,

    I'll only comment I'll make is that your actions of running lights, and going inbetween lanes etc. only gives bicycling a black eye. I'll know, you're a messenger and therefore it is okay to break every traffic law in order to make a buck.

    Apparently I need to clarify: I was saying how I went through the green light, as pedestrians crossed against it without regard to bike traffic. If carriages are PARKED in the right lane, then naturally I have to change lanes to avoid smacking into the back of them.. (comprehension is the issue here I guess).

    The whole idea was not that they operate, that I understand. The issue here is that they are permitted to park in the streets, and set up, clean, etc, right by busy intersections.

    Also: It is absolutely ok to get to the front of traffic at a red light.

    More cyclists need to learn how to anticipate and ride with traffic so that it is safer for all of us. This includes knowing when to ride with traffic and when to ride aside traffic. Knowing what to do at signals and which lane to be in. Pedestrians must understand that in a downtown area there are not only cars, but bicycles as well as part of the commerce. If you won't dart in front of a UPS truck, why dart in front of a cyclist?

  11. #11
    traffic dodger
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    oh and if you're refering to my right turn as running the light: you can make a right on red in chicago, unlike NYC.

  12. #12
    Enjoy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve

    carriages can make about 70 - 100 K a year.
    How come so much? Is that all tips? Time to change careers!

  13. #13
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samg
    hat they operate, that I understand. The issue here is that they are permitted to park in the streets, and set up, clean, etc, right by busy intersections.
    Here in NYC they seem to be limited to the area around Central Park down to Rockefeller Center and the West Side where most of the stables are located. We've had some ongoing issues over whether or not horses belong in traffic but most of that comes from Animal Rights activists.

    Quite honestly I like the horse drawn carriages and their use of Central Park probably added to the movement to make Central Park car-free. Having other slow moving vehicles probably makes the streets a little bit safer.

    Stacy

  14. #14
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    I hate those carriages. First of all, I feel sorry for the horses. They have to prance and drag the lazy fat human families through downtown traffic, and in the Christmas season, I can't imagine how irritated they are. I'm irritated, and I'm not dragging anyone but myself!

    Besides that, I just think these slow moving vehicles should at least be limited to a certain area of Chicago. I would prefer it WOULDN'T be someplace downtown, but if they had to do it, do it on some of the lesser streets like Superior, Pearson and Huron going east and west, and like Rush and Mies Van Der Rohe going north and south. Just move these monstrosities out of the way of traffic. They keep to the right, so they end up blocking bikes, and in the summer, when you have slow bikes and slow carriages, it can really slow you down. It's a drag. And you never know when they're going to turn or go straight, and you can't sit behind them because you never know when that horse is gonna pee either. I am sick of the carriage rides, and if we had a park like NYC, it would be easy, because they wouldn't be clogging up the streets. But all we have is the bike path, and we already have to deal with the horse crap that comes from the cops on horses that gallop up and down the lakefront and don't bother to clean up after their horses, and there just isn't enough room on the lakefront for carriages anyway. I am sick of the horses, and I wish one of those animal rights groups would come and picket or something. Maybe then, they can get the horses off the streets and out of the way of cyclists.

    They definitely should have a route they should be made to stick to. I hate not knowing which way they're going and not knowing if they're going to turn or go straight or what. Maybe we should just give them lower Wacker and call it a day.

    Koffee

  15. #15
    traffic dodger
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    Maybe we should just give them lower Wacker and call it a day.

    Koffee
    best solution ever.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by samg
    best solution ever.
    I remember a while back they offered the carriage owners the right to own a taxie and give up the horse cart! It costs over 100K to own the rights to drive a New York City cab. The carriage owners didn't want it for one second. I was told they make more money than a cab driver without the risk of getting killed!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    samg,

    I'll only comment I'll make is that your actions of running lights, and going inbetween lanes etc. only gives bicycling a black eye. I'll know, you're a messenger and therefore it is okay to break every traffic law in order to make a buck.
    Clearly this is another example of Whacko liberals hijacking the streets.

  18. #18
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    Can you imagine a horse trotting around with big troughs of poo slinging from their underbellies? Oh no, Merton... two snaps down....



    Koffee

  19. #19
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    The stench would still be gross. Dood, that's just... nasty.

    Koffee

  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Most pedestrians don't expect anything coming between lanes. I hate that, but it's true.

  21. #21
    traffic dodger
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    Most pedestrians don't expect anything coming between lanes. I hate that, but it's true.
    so true. The worst is if you're going the wrong way down a one way street.. gotta be careful because they're not looking in your direction. they jump out of nowhere.

    but in this case she was working in a street. i'll assume that shes been working it for a while. She should know that bikes use that lane.

  22. #22
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samg
    so true. The worst is if you're going the wrong way down a one way street.. gotta be careful because they're not looking in your direction. they jump out of nowhere.

    but in this case she was working in a street. i'll assume that shes been working it for a while. She should know that bikes use that lane.
    Agreed....... this not the same as the edge of the curb, this is a full lane away from the curb. I think in some places stepping into a traffic lane without looking is illegal. It might be worth looking that up on line, in case a pedestrian is threatening to take you to court. In my state (R.I.) it's not legal to step right out in front of an oncoming vehicle even on a crosswalk. It's not legal here to open a door into a traffic lane without looking first either.

  23. #23
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    i just want to let everyone that is ever in downtown chicago that i am a carriage driver.
    1. we do NOT make 70 G a year. that is horse**** we make money only through our tips. the money for the ride goes to the company owners. they pay almost 20% gross income in taxes, licenses and insurance. some of you may also know that horses are damn expensive animals- shoeing, feeding, cleaning up after them... it's not easy
    2. yes we have bags to catch excrement. i have seen other companies though that never wash them out or repair/replace if they rip. so, there are some of us out there that really do try and keep the streets clean. i will apologize now though that we cannot control where our animal urinates. i usually know when it's time with my horse, and i can aim for a drain. but yes, we are embarrassed when it happens.
    3. we are slow, we have lights (at least my friends and i make sure our carriages do), we have orange triangular signs that mean "slow moving vehicle" and a "Please keep back 15 feet". Horses can be unpredictable, sometimes at a stop light a little kid will run up with balloons to pet the horse and the horse only sees the balloons. They get scared and they try and get away- by backing up (usually into the BMW 6 inches behind me).
    4. We stay to the right, or to the left. I have no problem yelling at drivers who go down the middle of the street. Unless the horse is running at top speed, there is no sane reason for them to be in the middle.
    5. It is wrong for drivers to be trotting (running) their horse. Unless, there is 3+ on a reservation, or they go a couple of steps to make a light, it's no big deal. If you see a carriage driver running a horse you can call Consumer Services or Chicago Police and have them ticketed. YES YOU CAN DO THAT!!!
    6. Too many carriages get away with illegal turns. At no time should a carriage make a left off Mich. or any two way street excluding State St. We do have permission to make a left off State onto Delaware (eastbound) or Pearson (eastbound). Also, NO CARRIAGES ON RUSH FRI & SAT AFTER 6PM. if you see any carriages there, please call!!!
    7. I try very hard to stay out of people's way. I know that I am a nuisance, and it is a privilege, not a right for me to use the roadways. It is expensive, dangerous at times, so many people are rude to me... but I really enjoy doing it. I get to know the city, drive my pet, make a little money, and meet some really fantastic people.
    However I will say this: There are dangerous carriage drivers out there. Most work "full time" 15-20 hours every day. They are there from 9:30 am until 1-2 am... They are tired, underpaid (tips only avg =$5), and overworked. We spend between 1-2 hrs cleaning, feeding, harnessing, and hitching up our horses before we go to work, then after work at 2 am we bathe, feed, clean the carriage, and get everything organized for tomorrow. so these people are working approximately 20 hours a day. 7 days a week. Business is seasonal... Xmas and summer. That's it, the rest of the year is very slow, maybe 3-4 rides a day. That's twenty dollars- if you don't get stiffed. And when it's rainy and cold, and no rides, those drivers aren't making any money.

    The bottom line is if you want to blame somebody, blame lazy company owners at home asleep while people are out there waiting for 1 more ride because the owner says that can't come in before 12:30 am; blame the city for charging huge and ridiculous rates (the Commisioner sets the rate @ 35$/half hour- not the company) and insurance, licensing....; hell, blame the economy... blame bush or greenspan.... i don't care who you blame-
    but please know that some of the horse carriage drivers you see out there do care, do know that we are in the way and that we are trying to get out of the way, do use our turn signals, and do stop at stop signs (although it can be hard on a horse's back stop-go, stop-go...)

    smile at us, and i'll bet we smile back... unless we just got stiffed on a ride... twice in a row...

  24. #24
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    ps. if you want more info or to complain or get a question answered i am more than willing to help out. i have been driving now for 7 years, and i know the ins and outs. my email is svchorsefly@yahoo.com

  25. #25
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Sounds to me the carriage wasn't the problem, but a person running into the street without looking.

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