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What Chicago and Illinois has done to keep cyclists safe

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2016 | Bicycle Accidents

Statistics maintained by the Illinois Department of Transportation reveal that thousands of cyclists are injured in crashes on an annual basis. The most recent statistics are from 2014, revealing 3,014 crashes resulting in injuries and 27 crashes resulting in deaths.

In response, the State of Illinois and some of its municipalities have taken measures to help keep people on bicycles safe. These steps as well as a greater public awareness of bicycle laws can help prevent tragedies from happening.

What are local officials doing for cyclists?

Many municipalities around Illinois offer designated bike lanes, especially on main roads. According to the city of Chicago, more than 200 miles of protected lanes are available for people to use.

Further, the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 wants to establish the City as the best large city for people to bicycle. The plan seeks to give every Chicagoan access to a bike accommodation within just half a mile and build more bikeways to total 645 miles of bike-related facilities. Additionally, the City intends to provide more infrastructure in areas where people frequently ride bikes.

Are there laws that address motorists?

Yes. Illinois laws requires that people in motor vehicles must leave at least 3 feet of space in between the car and the bicyclist when passing. There may be situations in which this is not possible, especially on narrow roads or when there is heavy traffic. In those circumstances, drivers should wait to pass the cyclist until it is safe to do so and the proper amount of space can be given to prevent an accident.

What are the laws in place for cyclists?

Cyclists on the road in Illinois are required to follow traffic laws, such as stopping at red lights and obeying other traffic signs. In some areas, it may be permitted for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk, but only if it is noted. Otherwise, cyclists should ride either in a bike lane or along the right shoulder of the right lane, riding with traffic.

Other guidelines cyclists should adhere to include the following:

  • Bicycles must have a clear front reflector and a front light
  • Bicycles should be equipped with a horn or bell
  • Though it is not a law, cyclists are encouraged to wear helmets, which have been proven to reduce the risk of a brain injury

Also, cyclists are required to ride in a single-file line if there is a bicycle lane.

When a driver fails to follow the law and as a result a cyclist is injured, cyclists have the right to hold negligent parties responsible. Anyone who would like to know more about their rights after an accident resulting in injury should speak with a personal injury attorney in Illinois.