Plenty of people choose to bike to their destinations. In a bustling city like Chicago, biking is a smart economical choice, and it’s environmentally friendly. It’s also a great form of exercise. Cyclists can ride in the street. Unfortunately too many, motorists may not know that or choose to not share the road with people on bikes. Motorists can either be aggressive and not give cyclists enough space or misjudge the distance between them and the cyclist and cause an accident.
When negligence leads to a bicycle accident, you can seek compensation for your injuries. An experienced Chicago bicycle accident lawyer from Krzak Rundio Law Group, LLC will stand up for your rights and expend the resources to get you a just result. Founding partner, Michael S. Krzak is an avid cyclist and has logged tens of thousands of miles on the road and has participated organized (and not so organized) century rides and charity rides.
What Are the Bicycle Accident Statistics for Chicago?
Citizens of Chicago have become more active cyclists over time. A 2012 bicycle crash analysis for the city, showed that cycling safety can be improved. Here are some facts about how common bicycle crashes are in our city:
- There were about 9,000 bicycle crashes in Chicago that caused injuries between 2005 and 2010.
- In that time, there were 32 cyclist fatalities.
- Bicycle commuters have increased 150 percent between 2000 and 2012.
- In 2010, about 15,000 people in Chicago biked to work.
- About half of the accidents occurred at intersections.
Chicago is already making changes that will improve the safety of cyclists. The Lakefront Trail has recently designated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians. Separating the two leaves more room for everyone and will reduce the chances of cyclists and pedestrians colliding with one another. The 14-mile trail has completed 4 miles of the two lanes. The project continues and gives Chicago citizens time to learn the new designs.
Bicycle Safety Tips
As the weather gets nicer, more people are going to reach for their bikes to get around the city. Bicycle accidents increase when there are more cyclists on the road. If you’re going to ride your bike, you can take certain precautions to increase your safety.
- Wear a helmet. Cyclists have little to no protection when they’re in a collision with a car. Severe brain and head injuries can hospitalize the cyclist and possibly cause brain damage or other long-lasting issues.
- Wear reflective gear. Many accidents happen in the evening and later at night when it’s more difficult to see who is on the road. Reflective gear will alert drivers of your presence.
- Make sure you have working lights. Again, many accidents happen in the early morning and evening and later at night when it’s more difficult to see who is on the road. Working lights will alert drivers of your presence.
- Ride with traffic. Cyclists can share the lane with drivers, so they’re supposed to ride with traffic. Going against traffic reduces the driver’s ability to see you. They also have less time to react to you if you’re approaching from the opposite direction. As a cyclist, you can’t see traffic signs and will have your visibility affected when drivers have their headlights on.
- Signal your intentions – Being unpredictable on a bike is not a good thing. In order to protect yourself from drivers, you need to make sure you are seen and that drivers know what your intentions are. In many cases, impatient drivers claim they did not know what the cyclist was doing when they “punched it” to get around them, only to have the cyclist turn in front of them.
- Presume you are invisible – Ride your bicycle defensively. Many motorists involved in bicycle crash cases claim they did not see the cyclist before impact. Keep that in mind and do all you can to be visible, from wearing bright clothing, to making sure you have reflective gear and operating lights.
It’s also a good idea to err on the side of caution. Additionally, in the age of technology, drivers are often distracted or on their phones. A second of distraction can lead to disastrous results when a distracted driver hits an individual on a bicycle. Wait until you have a clear path before you proceed. This goes for riding down streets lined with parked cars as well. Bicycle “dooring” accidents are common in cities like Chicago and can often be avoided.
With roads designed with cyclists in mind and people learning how to share the road with cyclists, bicycle crashes would decrease because most of them are preventable accidents. But when impatient or distracted drivers cause these accidents to occur, your experienced lawyer will protect your rights.
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