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May 2015 Archives

Is Your Deck, Porch or Balcony Safe?

Throughout Illinois, homeowners are required to get a permit before building a deck, balcony or porch. Municipalities maintain safety standards for what is required in building these structures. For example, in the City of Chicago, a deck, porch or balcony floor must be designed to support a minimum of 100 pounds per square foot. There are requirements for how they can be attached to buildings, how the footings are set and what materials are acceptable for construction. The guidelines are intended to protect homeowners and visitors from the danger of a collapse. Unfortunately, many decks and porches are not built to code and are not maintained properly. The result of substandard construction and maintenance can be a fatal accident.

Many Railroads Will Miss a Key Safety Deadline

In 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board included Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation on its Most Wanted List of safety initiatives. The NTSB had been calling for the devices for 45 years at that point. Congress had taken action on that suggestion already in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 by requiring all railroads to install the systems by December 31, 2015. With a handful of months remaining before the deadline, it appears unlikely that PTC devices will be in place on time for many railroads, including Metra.

Biking In Chicago

Today is Bike to Work Day and riders all across the country are taking the opportunity to commute with their bicycles. That journey will be considerably easier for some than for others. Biking in a metro area can be challenging even during low traffic periods. During rush hour, it can become a near impossibility in some locations. Chicago has taken steps in recent years to become more bike-friendly. A recent evaluation suggests that the city has been relatively successful, though it is clear that more work is left to be done.

Tips for Safe Bicycling in Time for Spring

When the weather turns warm, people are once again able to enjoy the outdoors on their bicycles. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and the Illinois Department of Transportation offer a number of tips designed to help bicyclists stay safe on our roads. If you or your loved ones will be bicycling this year, it is a good time to review the practices that can help you avoid accidents.

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