Bicycle Safety Awareness Hits Home for Mayor Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Emanuel has long been an avid supporter of initiatives and planning aimed at promoting bike safety and awareness. Amongst recent efforts was Emanuel’s May 2013 proposal to make changes to Chicago’s bike ordinances which calls for variances in passing position for bicyclists overtaking vehicles, as well as increase fines for violations. The Bicycle Accident Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. support Mayor Emanuel’s efforts in making much needed progress in improving the safety our City’s bicyclists.

The Mayor’s proposal came following a bicycling accident involving Emanuel’s 22-year-old daughter. While commenting on his proposal in terms of safety through legislation, Emanuel also implicitly suggested the need for awareness in circumstances where the law cannot help, in making the following statements to the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago Mayor Emanuel has long been an avid supporter of initiatives and planning aimed at promoting bike safety and awareness. Amongst recent efforts was Emanuel’s May 2013 proposal to make changes to Chicago’s bike ordinances which calls for variances in passing position for bicyclists overtaking vehicles, as well as increase fines for violations. The Bicycle Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. support Mayor Emanuel’s efforts in making much needed progress in improving the safety our City’s bicyclists.

The Mayor’s proposal came following a bicycling accident involving Emanuel’s 22-year-old daughter. While commenting on his proposal in terms of safety through legislation, Emanuel also implicitly suggested the need for awareness in circumstances where the law cannot help, in making the following statements to the Chicago Tribune:

“The proposals make sense. But at the beginning of cycling high season, we would do well to remember that when it comes to bike safety, there are other laws involved.

The laws of physics. The laws of biological nature. The laws of probability.
And when a person riding a bicycle is struck by a 4,000-pound car, those are the laws that really count.
Two weeks ago, that person was my 22-year-old daughter. She was riding her bike on Broadway when a motorist decided that the one lane of traffic ought to be two. The driver squeezed between another moving car and my daughter’s bike and sideswiped my daughter.

She was knocked off her bike and onto the road.

The motorist drove off.

Kind bystanders called an ambulance and locked up her bike. At the hospital, X-rays showed hairline fractures in her pelvis and possibly her wrist.

It could have been much, much worse. In the emergency room, I picked up her helmet from where it had been stowed beneath the gurney and gave thanks that she had been wearing it.

The law didn’t come into play, unfortunately. The driver left the scene of the accident and got away with it. No one got the license plate number.

When my daughter was admitted to the hospital, the doctors’ explanation got me thinking about those other laws.

If a 22-year-old with strong bones emerges from a crash with hairline fractures, the orthopedic resident told us, the impact had to have been significant. She needed to be observed overnight to make sure there weren’t any internal injuries.

Happily, there weren’t. But I found myself thinking about that impact, and just how hard it had been.”

Chicago’s need to improve bike safety hit home for Mayor Emanuel, yet again, when he became ‘witness’ to a bicycling accident. In the early morning hours on September 4, 2013, as Emanuel retrieved his morning coffee, a loud noise prompted him to run outside towards the sound, where he discovered the victim of a bicycling accident. The bicyclist had been struck by a semi-truck. Fortunately the truck was traveling at a slow speed, and the bicyclist was not seriously injured.