Is Biking Becoming Safer in Chicago?



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.

Though the city has been making an effort to improve safety for bike users, it is clear to anyone who rides a bike in Chicago that the infrastructure is built for cars and bicyclists ride at their own risk.  Large intersections are especially dangerous for bike riders.  Bike riders are totally exposed at intersections and with many distractions which are typical for busy intersections, bike riders are particular vulnerable to be hit by a car or truck. Bicyclists can never assume that  motorists see them.  Intersections such as Milwaukee Ave. and Chicago Ave., Western Ave.  and Diversey Ave., Western Ave. and Logan Blvd., Elston Ave. and Fullerton Ave., and Hasted St. and Chicago Ave. are just a few examples of large, busy, and confusing intersections where bikers are extremely vulnerable to being hit by a motorist.

One of the most common accidents that bikers suffer in Chicago is “dooring accidents” caused motorists opening their car door into the path of a bicyclist because they did not look first before opening the door.  It is perhaps the most common accident our firm litigates. Its not hard to understand why these types of accidents are so common in Chicago.  Chicago has miles and miles of painted on the pavement, unprotected bike lanes that run right next to the parked car lane.  One momentary lapse of attention by someone exiting their car can cause a bicyclist to be thrown to the pavement, or even worse, thrown into the path of car or truck in the motorist traffic lane. Chicago Ave, Damen Ave., Lincoln Ave. Clark Ave. and Division Ave. are examples of streets that have long stretches that proceed right next to a parked car lane.  The Damen Ave. “bike lane” id especially dangerous since the bike lane is painted on, is very narrow,  and proceeds in a very congested area of Chicago.  Unfortunately, the Damen Ave. bike lane has been the location of bad bike accidents that involved major injuries to the bicyclist and even death.

Attorneys Sofia Zneimer and Peter Zneimer are avid bicyclist in Chicago and support efforts to make bicycling safer in Chicago.  The bicycle injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. provide free consultations if you have been involved in a bike accident and we are conveniently located ar 4141 N. Western. Ave., Chicago Illinois.

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