Bicycling in the City

Bicycling is an increasingly popular mode of transportation in Chicago and many other cities around the world.  There are many benefits that bicycling offers, including improved health and environmental friendliness, there is a downside to this form of transportation: personal injury.

The Chicago bicycle attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer have seen an increase in bicycling accidents.  Unlike an accident that includes two vehicles, even a low speed accident involving bicyclists can result in more serious injury or even death. In 2018, the Chicago Department of Transportation reported that there were 1,187 crashes involving bicycles, with 6 fatal accidents. This number has continued to rise in recent years, and it’s important for both cyclists and drivers to understand the risks involved in order to prevent accidents from occurring.

The most common cause of bicycle accidents in Chicago is due to drivers not paying attention to cyclists. There are increasing sources of distractions to drivers that results in distracted driving. Drivers may be distracted by their phones, other passengers, or simply not looking for cyclists. Additionally, some drivers may not be familiar with the rules of the road as they apply to cyclists, and may therefore make mistakes that can lead to accidents.

Cyclists are also at risk of accidents even without involvement of a vehicle.  Poorly maintained roads and inadequate bike lanes can cause bicycle accident.  Riding into a pothole, or over gravel, or over other debris, can cause cyclists to lose control of their bikes and crash. Furthermore, unsafe design of narrow or non-existent bike lanes can lead to cyclists riding in traffic, increasing their risk of being hit by a car.

To reduce the risk of injury, both cyclists and drivers need to be more aware of their surroundings and follow the rules of the road. Cyclists should be visible and wear clothes in bright colors.  Cyclists should always wear a helmet and make sure that their bike is well-maintained, with good brakes and functioning lights. They should also ride in designated bike lanes whenever possible, and use hand signals to indicate their intentions to other road users.

Drivers, on the other hand, should be on the lookout for cyclists, especially at intersections and when making turns, either left or right. They should also be mindful of the speed limit, especially in areas where cyclists are known to ride. Additionally, drivers should give cyclists plenty of space on the road, and never try to squeeze past them in a narrow lane.

Cycling is an excellent way to get around Chicago where safe, but it does come with risks. By taking steps to reduce the risk of accidents, both cyclists and drivers can make the city a safer place for everyone. Whether you’re a cyclist, a driver, or both, it’s important to remember that we’re all sharing the road, and we should do so with respect and caution.

Recovering damages for bicyclists is complicated.  Recovery from the municipality for failure to maintain the roads depends on whether the municipality considered bicyclists intended or permitted users of that particular road stretch and various immunity provisions come into play.  Unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen and if you need assistance, our personal injury lawyers can help.

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