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Written and Reviewed by Peter Zneimer

Wandering around Chicago, one will witness firsthand the micromobility revolution.  In high traffic areas, everywhere you look in Chicago you will see people riding e-scooters, e-bikes  and pedal  bikes.  The surge in micromobility is fueled by corresponding surge of on-demand bicycle and e-scooter networks such as Divvy, Lime and Spin flooding the city.  Such services, hypothetically, offer young, solo riders an easy, cheap, and eco-friendly way to take way to take short trips.  Over 4 million e- scooter trips have been recorded in Chicago since 2022.

Along with the benefits come with many safety risks. The rise of micromobility vehicles has been accompanied by emergency room visits by users of these vehicles. The e-scooter injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have experienced first hand the rise of e-scooter accidents with injuries by the number of call we are getting.   Anyone driving a car or walking around Chicago has most likely had a close call with a Divvy bike or  a Lime, Spin, Divvy E-scooter.  One of the major problems with micromobility is the limited number of protected bike lanes in Chicago.  Most of the so called bike-ways are at best, a painted bike lane that runs parallel to the parked car lane. At worst, the bike-way is simply a street with a bike painted on it.  This state of affairs leads to micromobility commuters being exposed to getting hit by a motor vehicle.  Damen Ave. and Lincoln Ave. are examples of  bike-ways with painted on bike lanes that offer minimal protections.  Damen Ave. in particular goes from wider bike lanes, to narrower bike lanes to bike lanes so narrow they barely afford room for a bike and car to fit on the road.

When biking in Chicago, at times it feels as if one is risking life and limb just to commute from one place to another.  The statistics seem to bear out that riding a bike not only feels dangerous but actually is dangerous.    From June 2023 to August 2023 there were 819 bike crashes with 75 of these leading to serious injuries according to CDOT.  Everyone who bikes on a regular basis in Chicago has stories of being involved in crashes with motorists or close calls.  The bicycle injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have had many clients that have been injured in bicycle accidents where the motorists are simply not keeping a look-out for bicyclists, either when making a right turn, when opening a car door or when making a left turn in an intersection.

Chicago has made a concerted effort in recent years to improve the infrastructure for bicyclists in recent years, adding 400 miles of bike-ways between 2018 and 2022.  Though that sounds like a lot, the reality is the vast majority of new bike-way lanes are simply painted on the roadway and offer little protection to bicyclists who are essentially still out in the traffic.

In Chicago, several intersections are notoriously dangerous for bicyclists due to a combination of heavy traffic, poor infrastructure, and the presence of multiple road users. Here are some of the most hazardous intersections and the reasons why they are considered risky:

Written and reviewed by Peter Zneimer, Zneimer & Zneimer P.C.

The bike lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. observe that there are more bicyclists on the road than ever and with that more bicycle injuries than ever. Chicago, like other major USA cities has made a major push to encourage people to ride bicycles and have added hundreds of miles of bike lanes to Chicago streets. The push is bearing fruit.  A study by the Chicago Department of Transportation has shown that biking is up 119% in Chicago between the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2023.  The comprehensive survey also showed that bicycle trips are up 117% for shopping, 93% for eating out and 8% for commuting to work.

Though other major US cities may have invested more in bike infrastructure in the past, Chicago maybe catching up.  According to CDOT, last year the city of Chicago completed 27 miles of new and protected bike lanes and 18 miles of greenways with more bike lanes planned.  Bicycle advocates argue that the data shows that improvements in bike infrastructure lead to large increases of bike use and that if the city keeps improving the infrastructure, bike usage will continue to grow in the future.


Anyone who regularly rides their bicycle along Chicago’s Lakefront Trail will have noticed the proliferation of people riding electric bikes in the last few years.  The bike injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. note there appears to be a dearth of research regarding the safety of electric bikes in relation to regular pedal bikes.  As the popularity of electric bikes continue to grow and as more electric bikes  are being ridden on our roads and bike paths, there has been growing awareness that perhaps electric bikes need to be treated differently than regular bicycles.

In a recent study conducted by U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission it was reported that there were 53,200 e-bike crash injuries recorded.  More telling is that the study showed that electric bike injuries increased from 3,500 in 2017 to 24,400 in 2022 which shows how rapidly electric bike injuries are increasing.  Governmental entities are currently grappling with how to treat electric bikes.  Should they be treated like pedal bicycles or should they be treated more like motorcycles. Safety experts point out that electric bike users face a greater risk of serious injury or death for the obvious reason that electric bikes are heavier and faster than regular bikes.  WaBiffl MD, trauma medical director at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and trauma surgeon at Scripps Clinic is quoted on Scripps Health website regarding electric bikes: “They go much faster, and this may create risk for hitting pedestrians who can’t get out of the way in time, or with motor vehicles, whose drivers do not anticipate a bike moving so fast,” He continues: “There’s also more momentum and the stopping distance will be much greater.”

As a frequent bicycle bike rider on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, Chicago bike accident lawyer, Peter Zneimer, of Zneimer & Zneimer PC has noticed a big change within the last two years with the increase of electric bike usage.  The Lakefront trail has always been dangerous. The path is often congested in the summer months with bicyclist of all types from people who regularly ride on the path to tourists who have rented bikes and are on the path for the first time. Add to the mix pedestrians, including children and people unfamiliar with the park walking and crossing the path without paying attention, unaware of the dangers. There are also roller bladders, runners, families with baby strollers, skateboarders and everyone else enjoying Grant Park in the summer. The trail was plenty dangerous already with bicyclists riding too fast given the many potential dangers, causing serious injuries to both pedestrians and other bicyclists.  Now the situation is exponentially  more dangerous.  It is not unusual today to be pedaling a bicycle at a good clip on the bike path and be passed by someone on an electric bike that more resembles a motorcycle than a bike a bicycle going 20 to 35 miles per hour.  At the present time, there appears to be no restrictions as to what class of electric bikes are permitted on the Lakefront Trail.  There are no Chicago ordinances nor any signage on the path itself restricting speeds  or restricting the types of electric bikes allowed.  The city of Chicago seems to be relying on people to use their common sense to go slow in crowded areas when so many children, pedestrians and tourists are present. Unfortunately, common sense seems to be in short supply on the bike path.  Peter Zneimer has on many occasions witnessed people on electric bikes weaving at high speed through crowds of pedestrians and other bicyclists. Sadly, Peter Zneimer, has also witnessed serious injuries and even death on the bike path due to bike riders going too fast for conditions. Inevitably, with the higher speed and heavier electric bikes there will be even more severe injuries and deaths on the Lakeshore Bike Trail.  The wise course would be to restrict electric bike speed and classes on the bike path proactively and not wait until the injuries and deaths pile up before taking action.


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In recent years, Chicago has prioritized making the city safer for bicyclists. The lawyers of the personal injury  law firm of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. note that Chicago has added miles and miles of bike lanes across the city.  Some of these lanes are simply painted lines designating bike lanes.  In the best cases, the bike lanes are separated from motor vesicle traffic by some type of barrier.

In one study conducted by Clever, a real estate website rated cities based on how “bikeable” the city is, measuring factors like the number of bike trails, bike rentals shops and how many people were involved in fatal car crashes as a percentage of bike users.  This study rated Chicago 20th out of the 50 cities rated, finding that Chicago scored favorably as to the number of bike commuters and the number of fatal crashes along with other fact.

In a more robust study conducted by the People For Bikes organization, Chicago scored much worse.  This study focused primarily on whether the city had safe passage routes connecting the city in an interconnected network.  In this study, out of 1616 cities ranked, Chicago ranked 1386.  This study gave cities a “Network Score” based on the extent of a cities bike route network.  Chicago scored poorly on every component. On bike access to parts of the city where people live, Chicago scored a 3 on a scale of 100.  On accesses to jobs and school, the score was 6 on a scale of 100.  On access to basic services like grocery stores, Chicago scored 4 on a scale of 100.


An estimated 9,560 people died in motor vehicle crashes nationwide during the first three months of 2022.  This number represents a 20% jump from the same period in 2021 according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  This number also represents a 20 year high in deaths.  The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. sadly note that the NHTSA has reported the increase in motor vehicle fatalities was  even higher in Illinois.  Illinois has had 280 fatalities during the first 3 months of 2022 which represents a shocking 24% increase in deaths over 2021.  According to the National Safety Council there has been a long term trend of rising traffic deaths in Illinois.  In 2010 there were 927 traffic deaths in Illinois compared with 1,194 deaths in Illinois in 2020.

The personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have observed that the blame for these increases have been placed on the usual suspects of drunken driving and speeding.  On top of these two causes and quickly becoming the top cause of traffic fatalities is distracted driving.  Almost everyone today has a cell phone and is constantly receiving text messages and e-mails.   Many drivers cannot resist  talking on their phones or checking in coming text or e-mails that ping on their phones.  Just a moment of distraction that takes a drivers eyes off the road is all it takes to cause a driver not to  see a pedestrian crossing the road or see a red light that has just turned or see a car that has made a sudden stop in front of their car.  It only takes a moment’s distraction to cause a life changing and tragic injury causing crash.  The lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. urge all drivers to not use their cell phones when driving.


Chicago Andre Vasquez has proposed streamlining the process to have cars and trucks towed that are blocking a bike lane.  Alderman Vasquez commented that: “cars just don’t care.  They’re parking there, waiting there. double-parking there.  Even when we had the Department of Finance ticket them, they weren’t moving.  By giving the Department of Finance the ability to tow them, it would incentivize people not to do it so they don’t get their towed.”

Additionally, the proposed ordinance would require signs to be posted that a bike lane will be closed 24 hours in advance whenever a permit is issued to do work that would close a bike lane.

The Alderman’s proposal was in response to a tragic accident that occurred on June 9, 2022 where a mother on a bicycle with a toddler named Lily seated in a carrier was riding down Leland Avenue bike lane.  Lily’s mother came upon a ComEd truck that was parked in the bike lane doing work.  Lily’s mother attempted to steer around the truck parked in the bike lane and was forced to maneuver by a semi-truck.  The semi-truck began to move causing Lily’s mother to lose her balance which caused Lily to be thrown to the roadway under the wheels of the semi.  Alderman Vasquez stated that he firmly believes that Lily would still be alive if his proposed ordinance were in affect at the time this incident occurred.



Sadly, Illinois has had an alarming 18 percent increase in traffic fatalities in 2021.  More than 1,350 died in fatal car accidents in Illinois.  This represents the highest number of traffic deaths in Illinois since 2005.  The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. note that Illinois is not alone in states experiencing sharp rises in traffic fatalities after many years of steady declines in deaths.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 31,720 traffic deaths in the United States from January to September 2021, a 12 percent increase from 2020.  The trend continues to be getting worse in Illinois in 2022.  The Illinois Department of Transportation recorded 80 traffic deaths this year.  This compares with 71 traffic deaths at this time in 2021.

Some help may be on the way to reduce these numbers in that the recently passed infrastructure bill which included billions of dollars for states to improve the safety of highways.  Some improvements and changes could include safer road designs, fixed bridges, general road maintenance, lower speed limits in dangerous areas, crosswalks and pedestrian improvements and better lighting.

The NHTSA has conducted behavioral research to come up with some possible reasons why traffic deaths have been spiking and their research showed that people have been more likely to speed and not wear a seat belt since the start of the pandemic for whatever reason.  These behaviors cannot be altered by an infrastructure bill and falls upon individuals to take responsibility for their own safety.  The injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer urge everyone to slow down, wear a seat belt and do not drive distracted.  The consequences of a serious auto crash can be permanently life altering and it is certainly worth the effort to exercises caution to prevent oneself or another motorist from becoming injured.


Though it has been a snow free winter so far this winter, it may be about time to find the snow shovels and salt and get ready to shovel the sidewalk.  Shoveling the sidewalk in front of ones house or building is not only a considerate thing to do it is also required by law in Chicago.  The Municipal Code of Chicago 4-4-310 & 10-8-180 requires that property owners and occupants of land keep their sidewalks clear of snow and ice.  A five foot wide path must be created for pedestrians on sidewalks and crosswalks.  Additionally, the snow that is cleared should not be into alleys, crosswalks, bike-lanes or Divvy stations.  Chicago property owners must clear the snow anytime it snows.  For snow at night the snow must be removed by 10 a.m.  For snowfall during the day, the snow must be cleared by 10 p.m. at night.  The penalty for not following the law are possible fines ranging from $50-$500.  Violators can be reported by calling 311.

Ice and snow create a big fall risk for anyone using an uncleared sidewalk.   The fall risk is especially acute for people who have difficulty walking, such as seniors, people with disabilities and young children.  Every winter the attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. receive numerous calls from people have been injured from a fall after slipping on ice or snow on an uncleared sidewalk or walkway.  Additionally, uncleared sidewalks and walkways cause people to walk in the street which is especially dangerous since the roads will most likely be slick if there is snow and there is usually not enough room for both cars and pedestrians.   The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer encourage everyone to shovel their sidewalks for everyone’s safety and shoveling has the added benefit of being great exercise.


Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi in an effort to make Chicago streets safer for cyclists has announced that the City is experimenting with raised bike lanes to keep cars out of cyclists space.  Commissioner Biagi observed that Copenhagen, one of her favorite cities to cycle around utilizes raised bike lanes in its bike lane infrastructure.   Chicago’s Streets for cycling plan envisions 645 miles of protected bike lanes to be in place by 2021.  The options to protect a bike lane from cars can include raised bike lanes, curbs, parked cars between the bike lane and moving traffic and bollards.  Observing that many people will wisely refrain from riding their bicycles on the street without some form of protect more than a painted line on the street, Audrey Wennink, director of transportation for the Metropolitan Planning Council,  expressed the need to build out complete whole networks of protected bike lanes to make transportation via cycle a more feasible option for more people.  As quoted by a Chicago Sun-Times article on bike lanes dated May 11, 2021 Wennink explains: “you need to have bike lanes go a certain distance-connecting all the way from neighborhoods to downtown.  If you want people to ride their bike to work, they need to have a safe pathway all the way from where they start to their destination.”   Though, Mayor Lightfoot is on track to add 100 miles of new bike lanes by the end of the year, Biagi points out that the raw number of new bike lanes is not as important as the few miles of bike lanes that connect one network of bike lanes to another network of bike lanes so that bikers can have a safe path all the way to their destination.

The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. applaud the emphasis on protected bike lanes to encourage bike ridership and to protect cyclists from the risk serious injuries that are caused by collisions with cars and trucks.  Injury attorney, Peter Zneimer can attest from personal experience with injured bicyclist, the painted bike lane affords little or no protection from getting hit by a moving car or getting “doored” by someone exiting their car without checking for bikes in the bike lane.  With more and more people using bikes for transportation, the city owns it to these cyclists to devote the resources necessary to make their commute as safe as possible.



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