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Can Pickup Trucks Drive On Lakeshore Drive?

You might be aware that Chicago restricts what types of vehicles can be driven on specific stretches of road. While you think this might apply only to big rigs and flat beds, the prohibition of other vehicles is also enforced on Chicago roadways like Lakeshore Drive.

If you are wondering if you can drive a pickup truck along this road, we can help you. We did a careful and thorough research of the law from multiple professional sources so that you'll know for sure before you start your drive.

Pickup trucks are not allowed to be driven along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago. These vehicles are also prohibited from being driven on any roadway in the city that has been classified as a boulevard.

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Now that we know that pickup trucks are not allowed to be driven along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago, we'll look at all vehicles prohibited on this stretch of road.

You might also wonder if you can ride in the bed of a pickup in Illinois or how long you can park a vehicle on a Chicago roadway. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

Dodge Ram TRX drives on a country road - Can Pickup Trucks Drive On Lakeshore Drive

What vehicles are prohibited along Lakeshore Drive?

Municipal codes can be a tricky and confusing subject to navigate. It can seem like the bigger the city, the more rules and regulations there are to be aware of. For those who want to drive in Chicago, there are a good many of them that you should make yourself aware of. 

Commercial vehicles are barred from any Chicago boulevard

Chicago prohibits any commercial vehicle from driving down any designated boulevard. Scenic Lakeshore Drive is one such roadway meant to be for passenger vehicle traffic only. This is to cut down on congestion and to make these stretches of road safer.

Pickup trucks are issued a "B Plate" by the Illinois Department of Revenue. These plates indicate that these vehicles can operate commercially, so they are not to be driven on Lakeshore Drive or any other boulevard.

Will this ordinance be enforced?

This has been the source of much contention among pickup truck owners in the city. The majority of passenger pickups that are sold are not used in a commercial capacity. This means the city ordinance is restricting a good number of passenger vehicles from utilizing many of Chicago's roadways.

Though it's reported that some police officers will not enforce this law on a pickup truck with an empty bed, you should still be aware that driving a pickup truck on a boulevard in Chicago is illegal and could subject you to a costly fine.

What other vehicles are not allowed on boulevards in Chicago?

In addition to pickup trucks, the ordinance in Chicago also prohibits any other vehicle used for commercial purposes. This includes semi-trucks, dump trucks, and other construction equipment unless doing authorized work, commercial vans, or any other vehicle designed to or carrying freight.

Can you drive a pickup truck in downtown Chicago?

You may drive a pickup truck in downtown Chicago but be aware of one big restriction. You cannot drive this type of vehicle on a downtown street if it has been classified as a boulevard.

As we mentioned earlier in this post, a pickup truck is not to be driven on any Chicago boulevard. These roadways are not meant for commercial traffic, and the city of Chicago regards a pickup truck as a commercial vehicle.

Aerial View of Chicago cityscape along Lake Shore Drive at dusk

Can you ride in the back of a pickup truck in Illinois?

If you are traveling in a pickup truck, you might already know that some states will not allow passengers to ride in the bed. Should you be in Illinois and are wondering if this is allowed, you might be surprised to know that this is still legal there.

But be advised that just because it is legal does not mean that it is always safe. Riding in the bed of a truck carries with it some pretty serious risks, especially on the highways. 

Always use caution and good judgment before allowing passengers to ride in the back of your pickup.

Boys having fun at a pickup truck in a Ranch

In what states is it legal to ride in the bed of a pickup truck?

Nineteen states do not restrict riding in the bed of a pickup truck. Most states allowing this practice has a good amount of rural farming areas, where slower-moving pickups might be moving along gravel roadways.

Allowing riders in the beds of trucks is more conducive to farming, resulting in many of these states allowing it unimpeded. 

As of 2022, the following states allow passengers in the bed of pickup trucks:

  • Alabama 
  • Alaska 
  • Arizona
  • Delaware 
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Keep in mind that even though a state doesn't have a law prohibiting this, a city or county within that state might. This is commonly illegal in metropolitan areas, no matter what state. It's a good idea to check with local officials before letting someone ride in your pickup truck bed, just in case.

Pick-up truck bed.

Can I park a pickup truck on the street in Chicago?

Pickup trucks can be parked along Chicago streets. But to legally do so, you must pay for a permit if you are parking in a residential neighborhood. This is meant to free up spaces for the people who live in the neighborhood, as there are limited parking spaces. 

The cost of this permit can be obtained through your Alderman's office. It is meant for city residents, but there is a big difference in the price of the permit for a truck compared to one for a car.

A truck permit will cost you $202.28, while one for a car only costs $85.97 per year. Failure to have a permit displayed for parking will result in a $75 fine per offense.

Rearview of a pickup truck on the road.

How long can a vehicle be parked on the street in Chicago?

Most public streets in this city will have metered parking. These meters will allow you to park for up to two hours in most cases. For longer public parking, there are many pay lots and public parking garages that will accommodate you.

You must have a parking permit displayed in your vehicle's window in residential areas. Failure to do so can result in a hefty fine. Be sure to keep your permit current so that this can be avoided.

Intersection at Rush and Cedar Streets, in Chicago

What is "dibs" in Chicago?

In many densely populated cities, street parking is almost a commodity. With limited spaces available, residents will vie for these coveted spots to be closer to home. Due to this, these spots can be considered under a watchful eye at all times.

But imagine taking the time to shovel your way out of one after heavy snow, only to have the spot you cleared taken by someone else before you return.

To keep this from happening, some Chicago residents will use a method known as "parking dibs" to keep their space occupied while their vehicle is away from it.

This involves moving a piece of lawn furniture, refuse cans, or any other large object into the space. Though common practice among some in the Windy City, it violates city ordinances.

The city will haul off anything left in the spaces because they want to discourage the practice. 

Snowed in car - a parked car in Manhattan, NYC after a snow storm with black backdrop

Final thoughts

Chicago places several restrictions and requirements on pickup trucks that many other cities do not. While some of these local ordinances might not be enforced, they are still the law and will get you potentially fined if you violate them.

Know the laws before you operate a truck or commercial vehicle in Chicago so that you can avoid costly legal fees. Drive safe!

We hope this post on trucks answered all of your questions. For additional helpful information, we suggest reading the following posts:

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