Chicago has begun to venture on its intentions to become one of the best large cities in the United States for bicycling. Currently, Chicago has over 200 miles of on-street protected and buffered shared bike lanes, an 18.5 mile lakefront trail, and over 13,000 bicycle racks.
Chicago plans to continue this expansion bicycling access as well. Mayor Emanuel announced in November his plan for Divvy public bicycling to expand to 475 stations by next year. This would make Divvy the largest bike sharing system in North America. The Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 would provide bicycle accommodation within a half-mile of every Chicagoan. This calls into question whether drivers that share the road with cyclists will become less negligent as the number of biking lanes increase or whether they will become more accustomed to and careful of bicycles on the road.
However, The Wire recently reported on a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, that concluded that Americans are currently the lowest in numbers of cyclists but are also the most likely to get killed while doing so. The study reported that motorists involved in bicycling accidents were charged with traffic violations in one third of all fatal bicycle crashes. Authorities and officers identified fault of the crash on part of the motorist in over half of all fatal bicycle crashes. Also according to the study, in 2005 – 2011, approximately 17% of all cycling fatalities were involved in a hit-and-run crash in which motorists fled the scene. This is an alarming four times the already high rate of motor vehicle accident hit-and-run accidents that occur in the United States.
With the city of Chicago’s plan for a 645-mile network of biking to be in place by 2020, it will be interesting to observe whether the trends for bicycle fatalities decrease. One fact though, is for sure. Our Chicago accident firm is on the side of innocent bicycling victims who suffer as a result of negligent drivers. In the past, our firm as successfully advocated for victims of pedestrian and bicycle accidents. Our firm understands that bicyclists who have been injured as a result of a negligent driver often undergo financial hardship and months of recovery and rehabilitation. If you believe that your injuries were caused by the reckless or careless behavior of another driver, our accident attorneys are happy to discuss your cause with you and help you determine what the best course of action is to ensure you can obtain the justice you deserve.