While bicycles are such a useful, efficient and economical mode of transportation in a large city like Chicago, there are also many important things that cyclists and others on the road need to remember to always do while sharing the road.
Riding a bike to get to your destination has numerous benefits, ranging from physical benefits to environmental benefits to economic benefits. Cyclists are able to get in a great full body workout while on their way to work or wherever they are headed, and studies have shown that biking can help people maintain their mental health as well. Riding to work during rush hour can also make people get where they are going much faster than driving or taking public transportation, as well as cost them nothing. Bikes are obviously much better for the environment than cars or trains and do not release any harmful gases into the environment. As cycling becomes more and more popular in large cities, it is also becoming easier for cyclists to get around as cities are putting in more bike lanes and making the streets more accessible to cyclists.
While there are so many positive benefits to cycling, there are also unfortunately many accidents involving bikes and cars or pedestrians. In order to help keep cyclists safe and keep personal injuries from happening, everyone on the street needs to be alert and responsible for their actions.
Drivers of cars need to always be aware and remember to not only look out for other drivers and for pedestrians, but also keep a lookout for cyclists. One main issue with cars and cyclists is when drivers park on the side of a street and open their driver side car door directly into the bike lane. This can be extremely dangerous if a cyclist is driving by as the driver opens the door, as they may be unable to stop in time or swerve into the road to avoid hitting the door or unable to stop and slam into the car door. This problem could easily be avoided in many situations simply by all drivers looking back before opening their car door when parking on a street.
Pedestrians need to also be alert and not only keep an eye out for cars and other vehicles on the road but also be aware of bikes. This means that pedestrians need to pay attention and not be distracted by phones and other devices when they are walking in a busy area. Simply being a more alert pedestrian and being cautious when you are crossing the street can make a huge difference.
Lastly, certain responsibilities also fall onto the cyclists themselves. Many cyclists do not follow the rules of the road and some of the biggest complaints many drivers and pedestrians have about cyclists is that they do not stop at stop signs and do not use turn signals, that they do not give pedestrians the right of way, that they do not make themselves visible enough and that they ride on the sidewalks. It is very crucial that cyclists obey the rules of the road and make sure to always follow the rules in order to keep the roads safer for everybody. Additionally, it is important to have the proper gear, including lights and reflectors, to make sure that everyone else on the road as well as pedestrians are able to see the cyclists and avoid an accident.
If everyone remembers to do their part and be responsible and aware of cyclists, the number of personal injuries resulting from bike accidents will certainly decrease and more people will stay safe on the road.