You’re looking at Evanston’s latest weapon in its love-hate relationship with bicycles.

It’s a plastic band, a little like the ones hospitals wrap around the wrists of patients, and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says it will start showing up soon wrapped around the locks of bikes that aren’t parked the way city officials like.

Bobkiewicz says that includes bikes attached to “sign poles, street lights and other objects.”

Of course, what the city code says is “No person shall park any bicycle in such a manner as to constitute a hazard to pedestrians, traffic or property.”

Bobkiewicz, in an email message, said that “While attaching bikes to anything except a bike rack may not violate the law, we want to encourage use of bike racks where available.”

While the city is installing protected bike lanes downtown to encourage more people to get out of their cars and ride, many cyclists complain that the city doesn’t have enough bike racks and the ones it has often aren’t conveniently located.

“We continue to place more bike rakes throughout business districts in Evanston,” the city manager says. “What we have discovered is that some bicyclists do not want to bother with racks if they perceive a closer solution is available on a light pole or directional sign pole.”

Bobkiewicz credits Public Works Director Suzette Robinson with coming up with the idea for the new yellow bands.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Stick with the law, Evanston

    If there's a statute or code, then enforce it. If not, then leave people—and their property—alone. The City of Evanston has no business responding to actions that Wally Bobkiewicz himself acknowledges do not violate the Evanston City Code.

  2. Now if they would enforce no bike riding on downtown sidewalks

    A police car was parked on the north side of Burger King [B-K] on Clark  for over 25 minutes—I assume to catch bikers on the sidewalk.  His windows were rolled-up the whole time, his head bowed and appeared to be reading.

    All the while bikes came by in both directions—he did nothing—no tickets, no warniings, not even getting out of his van.

    This is not the first time I've seen this.  Police cars themselves don't do it !


    As to the bands to warn of no bike parking, outside of B-K is ONE loop rack. At prime times it is always used and bikes have to use the tree or sign.

  3. Give Us More Bike Racks

    There are not enough bike racks, and those racks are not conveniently located. Period. Putting a rack or two on some corners is the equivalent of putting a few car parking spots on some corners and leaving the entire middle of the street empty of parking. Not only is it inconvenient, but it's insufficient.

    I go to Whole Foods – the racks are full. I go to Starbucks – the racks are full. I go shopping – and I can't even see racks in sight because the city tore them up and never put any more down (Church street, at some point this summer.)

    The city manager is right – the bicycles that are fastened to poles or lights are there because they are closer to the cyclists' destination. But he should take into consideration that "closer" in many instances is a choice between hunting through several blocks for an available rack, or locking up on a light post. Maybe if there were more racks, spaced as equally as cars, fewer cyclists would resort to poles.

    And I can't help but point out: it's LEGAL.

    1. Once again, let data drive City decisions

      Why didn't the City spend their little yellow bracelet money on a count of how many bicycles are locked to "disfavored" (my word as such locking locations are not against the law) over a week's time in a particular block or small area in high-demand sections of town?  Goal: determine how many MORE bicycle racks are needed in the block or area. 

      Here's my story: I would love to ride my bike to the Main Street train station. But I like my bike and want to have a good chance of being there when I return so I want to lock it to something that will help keep a thief from swiping it while I am away. But nope — when I arrive anytime on a workday morning, the rack is full and bikes are already locked to every nearby parking meter. If the City expanded this goofy program and attached one of its little yellow bracelets to my bike while I was gone, I would rightly wonder: what do they want me to do?  Strap my bike to my back and take it with me or leave it unlocked as a gift to some needy thief as part of the City's social services program?

      These little yellow bracelets are really so foolish and make the City look wasteful and stupid. Why would the City spend money to tell bicyclists to use a rack next time — but not know how many racks are needed, take no steps to find out how many rack spaces are needed and not provide enough rack space?  Isn't there someone on the City payroll who can direct the City on how to use common sense to resolve a problem?

      I know a guy who lives here and calls Evanston the land of the tiny brained folk. I guess here's another example of why. 

      1. Metra at Central

        While they have a few racks on the east side of the building it seems it is never enough.  Chase bank's racks are always filled.  Is Chase o.k. with that.  If Davis [and CTA] does not have enough, they do have room for them but I'm sure 'preservationist' would say the beauty of the concrete pavement should not be spoiled by bike racks.  CTA at Davis, Noyes and Central seem o.k. from random observation.  EPL-Main made a big increase in racks two(?) years ago—that was a big improvement since prior bike parking was a real problem.

        That raises the question as to whether Preservationists have any ecological interest ?  Probably not since they  seem to want to return to 1910 when cars really spued fumes or the 1800s with horse crap on the streets.

  4. It’s like plastic furniture coverings…

    When the never-ending construction is finished, the city fathers obviously don't want errant bicycling shoppers or workers infringing on our downtown's spanking new curb appeal. (Also, remember that the living room is only for guests, and to use the back or side doors when you enter and leave the house.)

  5. Livestrong!

    These fundraising bracelets are such a great idea (they are even yellow just like the Livestrong ones)! Where can we buy a bracelet to show our support of Evanston bikers??? I love that Evanston is so positive and resourceful in solving obvious issues like the lack of bike parking downtown.

  6. Yes, put MORE racks where needed !!

    If the City of Evanston wants to be more "green" and encourage sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation like bike riding, then give us more bike racks where it's needed. Simple. The City government should do an analysis. I agree with the prior comment – there are NOT ENOUGH bike racks at Whole Foods and the Starbucks on Sherman. The City should come up with a solution or work with Whole Foods and Starbucks and come up with a solution. There may be other locations where more "bike rack capacity" is needed. But that's why you analyze the situation. Putting a yellow plastic band on your bike is such a "government solution." We can do better.

  7. I decided to ride my bike to

    I decided to ride my bike to the library yesterday mid-day and it was a whole different experience than trying to do it on the weekend. There were lots of new bike racks on Church St. near the library (and close to Whole Foods).  i didn't  feel that I was in danger from turning cars when I was in the bike lane, though I did see one biker riding the wrong direction. I suspect the problem has a lot to do with a huge upsurge in bike riders, especially on weekends.

  8. Great use of my tax dollars

    Great use of my hard earned tax dollars, City of Evanston. I mean I didn't want any of that money to go to fighting real crimes. What a waste of resources. 

  9. Conflict of interest

    It is a conflict of interest for Wally and the rest of the city of Evanston administration to dictate where we can ride our bikes… More bikes mean less cars. Less cars means less parking (and parking violation) income. The law on the books is fine. Get back to work Wally!

  10. Bike corrals

    If there were more bike corrals we wouldn't have this problem.  Let's finish putting those in before we issue scarlet letters.

  11. Bikers living out their high school youth

    About time they do something to the bikers. It's not the every day bikers that are the problem. It's the ones in full outfits like they think they are in the Tour de France living out their washed up high school youth.

    1. Grow up

      My neighbor was hit by an everyday biker as she walked on the sidewalk, Chicago ave.  Broken leg from the impact. Biker took off.

      See, those of us that ride for sport and fitness ride in the streets with traffic. And we ride in what is called a kit, clothing with technical properties for efficiency and comfort.

      If you have an issue with where bikes are parked, address it.  Maybe recommend the city to buy more bike stalls for the public. This what a mature informed person would have written.

      Instead you posted your rant against us road bikers. What really is your problem?

      1. I think his problem is with

        I think his problem is with the bad seeds you see with road bikers (just like anything else it only takes a couple to give everyone a bad name). If bikers want to be treated as road vehicles, they need to act like them. Following traffic signs, lights, and giving the right of way to pedestrians. Most bikers do not stop at every intersection that they are required to. Never ceases to amaze me when a biker yells at a driver, only to blow right through the next intersection he comes to.

  12. Surprised that those new

    Surprised that those new lights on Church are being used as bike racks? To quote Diane from Cheers, "This from the people who every year fail to see winter coming." 

  13. Parking and Bike Racks

    It is hard to find parking for bikes and cars in downtown Evanston. Some times you need to drive around and ride around to find a spot. So, stop all the whining and look for an empty spot. Maybe the city can add some additional bike racks in the parking garage.

  14. Boot them or leave it alone

    So, if there is a problem, a cute sign is going to solve it? Really?

    If we want to stop this non-offense, then change the city code, start issuing warnings, then boot the miscreants. That will change behaviors very quickly. Treat the bikers like parkers. Hmmmm, a revenue source.

  15. Bikes and traffic lights

    I have an idea for a new source of income for the city: install traffic cameras to catch all the cyclists who go thru red lights and require that all bikes be licensed for a simple $10 yearly fee.  The fines from traffic enforcement can go toward building more corrals and bike lanes and for replacing the ugly poorly built 'street furniture' which is held down with one or two bolts with Real Lights!


    1. Cars and stop signs

      I have a better idea, why not install cameras to catch drivers rolling through stop signs. We could balance the federal budget with those.

  16. Bicyclists ticketed?

    I sent letters to our state representatives in Springfield suggesting a way to raise revenue for the State would be to issue license plates for all bicycles.  And, since we're in the computer age, each bicycle license should have a microchip in it that would correspond to all stop signs and traffic lights to automatically ticket bicyclists who flout the law and sail through stop signs and traffic lights … actually that would be a good thing to put on car license plates, too.

    Just think of the revenue that would create especially from those mob bicyclists who think they own the streets. As far as parking a bike, I suggest car drivers get a 'chain' to chain their car to a light pole that closest to the store they want to go to  … it's only fair, if a bicyclist can do it.  

    I was driving down Church the other day when three bicyclists were riding on the side walk going the wrong way.  Now, those who are pulliing their children on that contraption that can be easily hit by a car should get the highest fines.  It's the epitome of child abuse for these riders to blow stop signs and traffic lights and go the wrong way on a sidewalk. None of them was using that special space on Church.

    One evening, walking outside my door, I almost got run over by four adults on bicycles on the sidewalk … I stated, rather loudly, that if you're over 12 you should be riding on the street and not terrorizing pedestrians.

    I find it more offensive that people who have dogs have to pick up their dogs poop … I suggest that they all stop until bicyclists start obeying the traffic laws … what's worse .. dog poop on the lawns or bodies spewed all over the street … they are traffic laws, btw,  and not car laws.





    1. Off Topic

      This is a post about parking for bikes in the downtown Evanston area, not another forum for you to anonymously rage about how people do things you don't like, and how you think people shouldn't have to clean up after their dogs.

  17. Skokie knows how to do it

    Since downtown Evanston and Old Orchard are commercial districts, why don't we use the same plan that Old Orchard has in place to accomidate both bike traffic and car traffic?  It seems to work very well over there!

  18. Didn’t know we had that much spare time / money

    I was riding my bike in Winnetka once, rolled through a stop sign and got ticketed.   

    I thought to myself "apparently they have nothing better to do?"   We have better things to do with our tax dollars and whatever human resources are required to go around putting bracelets on bikes.

    Given all the other things that Evanston is trying to enforce – this seems like a poor allocation of resources all around.

  19. Biking/walking is healthy

    There are not enough parking places and garages in Evanston. the spots and garages available aren't convient to where I need to go. So I have to park and walk. I thought all the people that rode bikes and parked all over the sidewalks said it was  the healthy thing to do. Walking is healthy also. Rather then block sidewalks park bike in spot available and walk to where you want to go.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *