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.
The Proper Fit
A recent study confirmed that there was a sharp increase in the number of adult bicycling injuries between 1998 and 2013. The study involved data gathered in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, combined with U.S. Census information. It revealed that the increase is driven, in part, by rising injuries in bicyclists older than 45. According to one study author, ridership among people in that age group is at an all time high.
The Chicago Department of Transportation reports that bicyclists represent as much as 38 percent of traffic during the morning rush hour. The city has undertaken several measures designed to help traffic, including bike traffic move quickly and safety. Last week the city unveiled the "green wave," a plan to help bicyclists and motorists move in a more continuous flow on Wells Street between Huron and Wacker Drive. This week, construction is set to begin on protected bicycle lanes on Clybourn Avenue. The protected lane will, when completed, stretch from North Avenue to Division Street on Clybourn and on Division Street from Clybourn to Orleans Street, according to Illinois Department of Transportation plans.
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.
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.
Motor vehicle deaths rose one percent from 2010 to 2012, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. During that same time period, bicyclist fatalities rose 16 percent. The troubling trend is largely the result of accidents affecting a specific demographic - adult males in urban areas. Adults in general were once a small percentage of those killed in bicycle accidents. In 1975, people over the age of 20 made up on 21 percent of bicyclist fatalities. By 2012, that figure had risen to 84 percent. Adult males made up nearly three-quarters of the total of bike fatalities.