Bike Safety

After a grueling winter, most Chicagoans have been extremely anxious to enjoy the warm days and nights of summer.  Days spent at the beach, walking and biking along the lakefront, make it easy to forget about the dreadful months of winter, where even after your best efforts at layering, you simply could not wear enough clothes to battle the polar vortex.  But, at last, summer is here, and the number of bikers hitting the road will continue to increase along with the growing number of biker resources throughout the city, including bike lanes and the popular Divvy bike rentals. It is important to understand bike safety rules of the road, and also to understand your rights as a biker in the event of a personal injury sustained while riding.

Chicago motorists should get comfortable with sharing the road with bicyclists.  In 2013, with funding through a federal grant, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced that the Divvy bike sharing system would expand to include a total of 475 bike share stations, making it the largest bike share system in North America.  In addition, according to the City of Chicago website, there are more than 200 miles of on-street, protected, buffered and shared bike lanes. This means that the potential for a collision and or personal injury while riding is greatly increased, as motorists become accustomed to the new traffic signals and lanes specifically for bike riders.

Bike Safety and Personal Injury in ChicagoJust as there are rules of the road for operating cars and motor vehicles, there are also rules of the road for bicycles. In order to ensure both the safety of the biker, as well as other motorists, it's important to not only to adhere to the rules of the road, but to also have the proper bike safety equipment, including a helmet, front and side reflectors, and also properly adjusted brakes, seat and gears. These are but a few safety precautions that can make the difference in preventing an accident while operating a bicycle on the road. 

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, most bicyclists get into crashes while trying to maneuver in ways in which vehicles cannot, often in violation of traffic rules.  In order to be safe on the road, bicyclists must take extra precaution to avoid collisions with motorists.  Practicing various skills, such as communicating with drivers through hand signals and learning how to look back, can help bicyclists to better share the road with motorists and ensure the safety of both parties. 

Even the most prepared bike rider can become involved in a collision with another biker or motorist.  In the event that you sustain an injury while riding a bicycle, the personal injury attorneys at Cooney & Conway can help you to better understand your legal rights.  Call us today for a consultation!

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Sources: 
http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/how-to-handle-a-bike-accident-with-a-vehicle
http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bike/news/2013/nov/divvy_expansion.html
http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bike.html
https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a143.pdf
http://www.dot.il.gov/bikemap/safekids/safebike.pdf

Arnethia M. Ellis is the Complaints Paralegal at Cooney and Conway.   In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, and all things fashion!