Here in the crowded and bustling City of Chicago, all of us must share the roads. When thinking of Chicago traffic, many people think of busses, cars, trucks, and pedestrians. However, many people often forget about the bicyclists in our community, and they are paying the price dearly.
With data compiled from the Census Bureau along with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Chicago Metropolitan Planning Agency (CMAP), the Chicago Sun-Times reported that bicycle accidents and fatalities have risen 38% over the past decade. This number accounts for the increase in bike commuters over the same time period. The accident rate is especially bad along Milwaukee Avenue, the Loop and on the North side of the city, where streets are narrow and there are few dedicated bicycle lanes.
In an attempt to combat this increase, the Chicago Department of Transportation has vowed to build another 34 miles in protected and buffered bicycle lanes by the end of the year. While some view bicyclists as vehicles that continuously break the rules of the road, we all must understand that protected bike lanes are a good thing for our city and will make everyone’s commute safer.
Whichever mode of transportation you choose, it is important to be vigilant. While driving, look out for bikers when changing lanes and opening doors, especially on narrow streets. Be aware that Chicago municipal code requires drivers to give bicyclists a three foot buffer while passing, and that they are prohibited from making right turns in front of oncoming bicyclists. Bicyclists must also be aware that they are vehicles and are subject to Illinois traffic code whenever biking on a public roadway, this includes stopping at stop signs, stoplights, and following appropriate roadway signs. Bicyclists over 12 years of age must also be aware that they are prohibited from riding on the sidewalk, unless that sidewalk has been designated as a bicycle route. Pedestrians must look out for bicyclists while crossing the street and should obey all crosswalk signals. With vigilance we can all help reduce bicycle accidents and deaths.
Our attorneys realize that no matter how hard we try, bicycle accidents do happen and when they do they can be traumatic and life altering. Levin & Perconti has a long history of representing injured bicyclists and their families by explaining the options available to them and guiding them through the litigation process quickly, appropriately and with care. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another please contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.