12315Chicago’s streets are crowded with all types of traffic. From pedestrians to bicyclists to trucks, vans, and SUVs, it is rare to find an empty street in downtown. If you move to other areas of Illinois, you may find anything from school buses to motorcycles or even farm equipment using the roads on occasion. So what duties do you owe to others if you are driving on a road?

At the end of the day, it is up to every motorist to know their duties and responsibilities when driving and to abide by those duties. Failing to do so can lead to multiple consequences including traffic tickets, criminal charges, fines, fees, the loss of a license, or even legal liability for any harm that results.

Bicyclists are a category of street user who legally can occupy the roadways just like a motor vehicle. They have the right to ride where and when they choose unless an area is otherwise marked. This means that a bicycle can ride in a marked bicycle lane where one is present or otherwise can occupy a lane of traffic like a car can, enabling that rider to move through Chicago with ease.

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12715(2)What concerns you about the conduct of other drivers? Do you worry about people driving while using their cell phone? What about driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Are those who speed and dart in and out of traffic your primary concern? What about confused motorists who brake or stop in the middle of heavy traffic simply because they do not know where they are going?

Everyone has concerns about the actions of others and for good reason – your safety on an Illinois roadway depends in part upon your conduct and in part upon the conduct of others. But while speeding, failing to yield, and driving erratically are widely understood, few people realize how much of a threat truck driver fatigue poses to them and to those they love.

Truck driver fatigue accidents plague Chicago and the rest of our state just as they plague roads all across our country. These collision occur when the driver of a semi-truck or other large truck operate while they are tired or sleepy, limiting their ability to act in a reasonable and responsible manner and increasing the odds that they will be involved in a crash. It is hard to know exactly how many lives are affected by truck driver fatigue crashes annually but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that nearly 4,000 people die every year in large truck accidents and that driver fatigue is believed to be a leading cause in those crashes and the resulting deaths.

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92316What is the big deal about riding a bicycle in Chicago? If you already ride, you get it – Chicago is a fantastic city to see and travel by bicycle and one that becomes more bike-friendly as every year passes. If you do not ride a bicycle, you probably have noticed the surging ranks of cyclists on the streets, at our intersections, and around the Loop and wondered what is behind the sudden and significant increase. Perhaps you have even given some thought to riding yourself or allowing your children to ride a bicycle.

Biking in the city can be great if you take the proper precautions to make sure you ride safely. Experts agree that one of the best things you can do to stay injury-free in the event of a bicycle accident is to wear a proper, well-fitting bike helmet. With literally thousands of helmets to choose from, how do you know what helmet is best for you?

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As we move deeper into September and the autumn season, the temperatures and leaves will begin to fall. But before we can start enjoying hot cider and apple picking, Mother Nature has a few more weeks of summer heat in store for Chicago. These warmer temperatures increase the likelihood of tire blowouts which can not only be annoying to drivers but also a safety concern. Tire blowouts are incredibly dangerous as they can cause serious motor vehicle accidents which tend to lead to injuries to those involved.

Tire blowouts are more likely to occur when the weather is hot than they are when temperatures are mild. Warm temperatures make the surface of a road hot which can lead to increased friction between a tire and the road. This friction creates heat which puts greater stress on the tire’s components, increasing the odds that the tire will fail. Tires that are underinflated further struggle to accommodate the weight of the vehicle, causing the tires to become overloaded and increasing the friction they normally experience on the roadway.

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21716A typical motor vehicle accidents may involve two vehicles but some collisions can involve several vehicles. The more vehicles involved in a collision, the more likely it is that damage and injuries will be severe. Given the high volume of traffic in Chicago, multi-vehicle car accidents are very common.

Intersections by nature are a place where vehicles converge which is why multi-vehicle accidents are common in these locations. One distracted driver at a four way stop can cause an accident involving numerous cars just by failing to yield to the right-of-way. When intersections have unique designs, the possibility for multi-vehicle accidents increases. These unique designs are common with older intersections where three streets intersect instead of the typical two. If a driver is not paying attention, the driver can easily fail to see the third street and be unaware of incoming traffic.

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91316With schools across the city welcoming students back to the classroom, the number of children riding bikes will begin to increase. Chicago is considered one of the most bike friendly cities in the country, and many citizens use bicycles for transportation, including students. Students both in Chicago and in Illinois suburbs frequently ride bicycles to get to and from school.

Cycling for transportation is a healthy and fun option for students, but it is important for both parents and kids to do everything possible to remain safe. Here are some safety tips to help ensure you and children are safe this back to school season!

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12315For years, bicyclists have been able to share the roadway legally with motor vehicles in Illinois, allowing those who ride to do so in an efficient and often simple manner. There are so many riders in Chicago, for example, that the city has taken significant steps to increase rider safety by providing designated bicycle lanes, protected bike lanes, and even bike-specific traffic control signals.

However, a fatal bicycle accident last year had many questioning the legal standing of riders and wondering whether riders would ever be safe under the laws as they stood. In that incident, a man was riding a bicycle when an at-fault driver failed to yield the right-of-way to the cyclist causing a bike crash that turned fatal for the rider. Though the driver was ticketed for failing to yield, the ticket was dismissed in court when the presiding judge determined that the bicycle involved did not meet the definition of a “vehicle” under the law for the ticket to be valid.

In response, Illinois House Bill 5912 was introduce and approved by a vote of 164 to 1 in the House and Senate. In August, the bill was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner and is set to take effect on January 1, 2017. The new law makes it clear that bicyclists “shall be granted all of the rights” of automobile drivers when they are operating on roadways in the state and that means that their rights cannot be ignored by others.

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9616For thousands of kids in the Chicago area, today marks the first day of a new school year. Some are excited and looking forward to meeting their teachers and seeing their friends. Others are dreading the end of summer and the freedom they enjoyed when they did not have to attend class every day. Regardless, though, the Chicago landscape is transitioning today as kids move from a routine of flexibility to one of structure with school at its center.

If you are a parent of a school-aged child, it is a good idea to talk about pedestrian accidents, bicycle collisions, and other injuries to children and minors this week as they are more common in Illinois at the start of a school year. But realize that even if you are not a parent, back-to-school still affects you as the influx of children on city buses, trains, and streets will have an impact on your transit plans.

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41316(2)If you were hoping for some nice weather this Labor Day weekend, you are in luck: the forecast in Chicago is calling for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s. If you were hoping for an easy weekend of driving, though, the odds may not be in your favor as experts expect Labor Day to be one of the busiest driving holidays of the summer.

Millions of cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs are expected on Illinois roadways this weekend and today may be the busiest day for those who want to head out of town. The Illinois Tollway believes that 7.8 million vehicles will use some part of the tollway system during the long weekend as they leave the city, enter town, or simply drive around the state.

If you plan to be one of the millions who will travel by car this weekend, consider what you can do to keep yourself safe and to limit the risk that you will be the victim of a car accident.

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truckAn average American driver is involved in two to three car accidents or traffic incidents in her lifetime. Those who drive more miles or more minutes than average are at an increased risk for collisions and many drivers will experience far more than three accidents during their driving careers, some of which may cause damages that last long after the dust settles. While a vehicle can always be repaired or replaced, the personal injuries sustained by a victim may not heal as easily or may be permanent in nature.

If a large truck is involved in a collision, the damages that result are likely to be greater than if a smaller vehicle were to take the truck’s place. Simply put, the overwhelming size, weight, and build of a truck means that another vehicle is not going to put up much resistance if the truck strikes it and the results can be catastrophic. The propensity of a truck to cause such extreme harm is one of the reasons that commercial truck drivers must undergo additional testing and maintain certain national and state eligibility standards before they can drive legally in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois. Nonetheless, even with these semi stringent restrictions, truck accidents take place every day in this country and victims are left wondering how they can pick up the pieces and move forward with their lives.

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