10/14/2011 04:53 pm ET | Updated Dec 14, 2011

In Bike Lanes, 'Mary Poppins' Gets Wide Berth

Bikers call it the "Mary Poppins Effect."

Dottie Brackett, 30, commutes by bike from her home in Roscoe Village to a downtown law office. When she wears athletic attire or rides a bike that forces her to hunch over the handlebars, cars often pass uncomfortably close. But dressed in street clothes and riding an upright bicycle, a curious change occurs: She gets as wide a berth as if she were the famous nanny pedaling along. Because, after all, "who could be mean to Mary Poppins?"

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