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Statement of Shambrook Family Following Chicago City Council Passage of Bicycle Ordinance

The Shambrook family reacted to a Chicago City Council ordinance passed Wednesday, December 14, 2022, that would allow for more signage when construction work blocks bicycle lanes across the city. But such a move is too late for little three-year-old Elizabeth Grace “Lily” Shambrook who was killed in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood in June when she was bike riding with her dad and mom who were forced into the traffic lane by a Commonwealth Edison truck that was blocking the marked bicycle lane near the intersection of Leland and Winthrop avenues.

Lily’s parents, Tim Shambrook and Kate Snow are devastated by the loss of their daughter and are determined to make the biking community safer so their little’s girl’s death wasn’t in vain.

Alderman Andre Vasquez of the 40th Ward introduced the new regulation at today’s City Council meeting that requires signage advising that a bike lane is closed when a city permit or any type of ongoing work results in the closure of the bike lane. It also requires signage warning vehicles to yield to bicyclists. The new ordinance also empowers employees of the city’s Department of Finance to ticket, tow, and impound vehicles driving, standing, or parking in bike lanes.

Just weeks after Lily’s death, the City of Chicago announced an aggressive plan to construct concrete barriers along every bike lane by the end of 2023 that would be similar to a curb so as to prevent drivers from even entering bicycle lanes.

“This ordinance is a first step but simply doesn’t go far enough and just papers over the real problems,” Shambrook said. “When asked about tow truck response times, camera enforcement of safe bike lanes, or progress toward the 2023 city-wide curb program, answers from the city simply are deficient. Safety should be every elected official’s top priority and our little Lily paid the ultimate price for others’ misconduct and disregard for the safety of bicyclists.”

Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, is representing Lily’s parents in investigating what occurred on June 9, 2022, when a Commonwealth Edison truck was parked blocking the bicycle lane painted on the street. ComEd held a permit from the city to stage vehicles and equipment on the adjoining street, Winthrop, yet the large utility truck was parked on Leland. About 8:15 a.m. that morning, at the same time the Shambrook family had to navigate around the illegally parked ComEd truck, a Mondelez 18-wheeler tractor-trailer truck drove down Leland through a residential neighborhood with a school on the corner, striking and killing Lily.

“The City of Chicago issued a permit to ComEd without adequate concern for the size and amount of heavy equipment that would be brought into the neighborhood, or where their vehicles actually would be parked,” Clifford said. “We all co-exist in a society where it takes cooperation and concern for others who need to do their jobs to ensure that senseless tragedies like this cease. That concern was missing here. The flagrant and repeated disregard for the safety of bicyclists and lack of respect for designated bike lanes by operators of trucks and vehicles creates deadly hazards that simply cannot be tolerated.”

For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).

www.CliffordLaw.com

Media

  • Photos from Tuesday morning, Dec. 13, 2022, the day before the Chicago City Council passes an ordinance attempting to strengthen bicycle laws. These photos are from the intersection where Lily Shambrook was killed in June: