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Streetsblog Chicago Editor John Greenfield Seriously Injured in Bike Crash

2:38 PM EDT on April 25, 2023

A photo from John’s bike tour, posted shortly before the crash, via Twitter. Photo right: Streetsblog CHI

Streetsblog Chicago editor and co-founder John Greenfield was seriously injured this weekend after a piece of unsecured construction material fell off a pick-up truck and struck him while he was biking on a road with no protected cycling infrastructure.

According to Streetsblog Chicago and the Chicago Tribune (the latter of which, troublingly, referred to the crash as an "accident"), Greenfield had recently begun one of his frequent bike tours in the southern Illinois town of Marion when he was struck by an improperly secured culvert, a type of tunnel infrastructure which is used to divert water under roadways or railways. The April 21 crash occurred at 12:30 p.m. at the intersection of West DeYoung and North Russell streets, the former of which is a six-lane arterial also known as Illinois Route 13. Neither road has a bike lane, and the surrounding sidewalk infrastructure is also incomplete.

Police say the driver was cited for carrying an unsecured load, but did not provide further details about the motorist or the vehicle involved.

Greenfield was transported to a nearby hospital following the crash, where he was placed in a medically induced coma as a precaution for a possible head injury. As of Monday, Streetsblog co-founder Steven Vance says Greenfield had not yet fully regained consciousness and the family "won’t know the extent of cognitive effects until he wakes," but that his condition was "steadily improving and that the doctors hope he will be off of the ventilator in the next few days."

West DeYoung and North Russell Streets in Marion, Ill. Photo: Google Maps
West DeYoung and North Russell streets in Marion, Ill. Photo: Google
West DeYoung and North Russell Streets in Marion, Ill. Photo: Google Maps

Greenfield has been a part of the Streetsblog team since 2013 and a dedicated journalist and advocate for sustainable transportation in the Windy City for many years prior. He managed the installation of roughly 3,500 bike racks throughout the city as part of his previous work at the Active Transportation Alliance, and has written about transportation in the Chicago Reader, Newcity, Crain’s and Time Out Chicago, and more.

Greenfield's brother, David, issued a statement on behalf of the family:

“We appreciate everyone who has gotten in touch and told us about their concern for John. It’s a reminder of how important his work and friendship are to so many people. We are optimistic about his recovery and know he’s going to be back working for fair transit and safe streets as soon as he can.”

He added that several concerned readers have asked if they can contribute to Greenfield's medical care, but the family is asking that those donations be made instead to Streetsblog Chicago.

Streetsblog Chicago will be paused until further notice and this article will be updated as we learn more.

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