The City of Chicago is considered one of the best cities for biking – at least when the seasons cooperate – thanks to more than 200 miles of bike trails including an almost 19-mile stretch along Lake Michigan.
In fact, in 2016 Chicago toppled New York City as the top bicycling city in the country, according to Bicycling magazine.
According to the magazine’s editor-in-chief Bill Strickland, the city, which has been steadily climbing spots since 2012, took the top slot due to infrastructure that’s in place throughout much of the city that separates bike lanes from vehicular traffic.
Bike Injury Cases in Chicago“Awareness of infrastructure, through separated bike lanes, is the next thing that needs to happen to really change cycling and what it means to live in an urban area,” Strickland said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
In a move that’s likely to help Chicago retain that top spot, the 2020 Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan calls for more than 400 miles of new paths, both in heavily populated areas and where there are fewer riders on the roadways.
Chicago also has more than 13,000 bike racks as well as sheltered bike parking at several Chicago Transit Authority rail stations for those who include their bike as part of their commune.
In 2016, a 20-year-old woman riding in a bike lane was killed when a semi moved into the right lane, hitting her and pulling her and her bike beneath the tractor-trailer’s wheels.
The accident happened on Milwaukee Avenue, the busiest area for cyclists in the city, and occurred on a side of the street with no buffer in place to separate cyclists and motorists.
“It almost seems inevitable. Just the volume of bikes and you see how the lanes get squeezed in there. You’re surprised you don’t hear about it more often,” business owner Bill Zigmond told the city’s Fox affiliate station.
Still, that’s no reason to give up cycling in the city.
Should I Wear a Helmet? Am I Required to Wear a Helmet in Chicago?
While Illinois has numerous laws on the books related to bike safety, wearing a helmet is not a legal requirement.
That said, there are rules governing cyclists as well as drivers as they relate to cyclists in the state.
For safety purposes, flashing taillights – or helmets with flashing lights – boost visibility significantly.
Cyclists are required to ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or the edge of the street, without putting themselves at risk due to debris or other roadside hazards.
Drivers must be aware of cyclists, and cannot legally open a car door into a bike lane if a cyclist is approaching.
Drivers are legally required to leave enough room for cyclists when approaching to allow cyclists to stay out of harm’s way.
Still, no matter how much attention you pay to safety issues, accidents can still happen.
While many accidents are caused by drivers, cyclists can also create a risky environment by failing to follow safety guidelines or by riding recklessly. Weaving in and out of traffic, making sudden movements into the path or oncoming vehicles, riding through stop signs or other unsafe riding practices can easily trigger an accident.
If you do get into an accident, you may be wondering what steps to take to get yourself back on the road.
Experts recommend taking certain steps, even if you think the accident was minor and you don’t initially think you were injured.
First, call the police. A police report will be important evidence in the event of injuries and will offer a clearer picture of what happened. That’s vital if you need to submit a claim to an insurance company.
Take down the driver’s information including insurance information, contact information, and a license plate number. Also, gather information from any witnesses who were at the scene.
Make sure you seek medical attention, even if don’t immediately realize that you’ve been injured. Adrenaline can hide serious injuries.
The same holds true for your bike. You may not initially see any damage, but that doesn’t mean your bike is safe to ride. An experienced bike repair person can give your bike a thorough inspection to make sure that there isn’t any hidden damage that can cause an accident later on.
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident in Chicago that was no fault of your own, a good attorney can be your best asset.
An experienced lawyer will have a clear understanding of the laws protecting cyclists and will do his or her best to ensure that you receive compensation to cover the costs of your injuries, which can often be extensive given the weight of a vehicle compared to a bicycle.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident, call our offices today. We don’t charge any fees for personal injury cases unless we win your case, and your initial consultation is free.
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