The Chicago Department of Transportation began a series of 20 Share the Road events last week that will stretch across five city wards and into August in an effort to increase awareness.
“To ensure everyone’s safety, all users of the public way need to follow the rules,” said CDOT Commissioner Thomas G. Bryrne. “Safety is our No. 1 priority and the Share the Road program is an effective way to work toward that goal.”
Nationwide, 698 bicyclists were killed and another 44,000 seriously injured in 2007, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Bicycling is a popular form of recreation and a practical means of travel for more than 4 million people in Illinois. But the Illinois Department of Transportation estimates more than 4,000 Illinois residents are seriously injured each year in bicycle accidents.
IDOT has released a public service announcement for the summer, emphasizing the legal requirement to give cyclists at least three-foot of clearance when making a pass. “There is plenty of room for us all, Please Don’t Squeeze.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the majority of bicycle accidents occur between 5 and 9 p.m.
“Our goal is to keep everyone on the road safe,” 42 Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly said. “Cyclists need to be protected but they also need to ride responsibly and follow the laws of the road.”
The city plans to have 500 miles of bike trails by 2015 — motorists should remember every bicycle on the road means one less car adding to the congestion.
An excellent map of Chicago-area bike paths and trails is available by clicking here.
Citywide, law enforcement is receiving special training to enforce the new bicycle safety ordinances that were passed in March 2009 — and the city’s bike-lane parking ordinance will carry a $150 fine, up from $100 last year.
IDOT offers the following rider safety tips as part of its Summer Survival Guide.
-Bicycle helmets are essential to reducing the chances of a serious head injury during a crash.
-Wear bright-colored clothing during the day and white or reflective clothing at night.
-Avoid riding at night if possible. If you do ride at night, the law requires your bike be equipped with a front light and rear red reflectors.
-Always ride with the traffic flow, as close to the right edge of the road as possible.
-Obey all traffic signals, markings and directions from police.
-Use hand signals.
-Learn to look over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving to the left.
-Do not pass to the right, motorists often will not look in that direction for cyclists.
-When moving the same speed as traffic, ride in the middle of the lane, especially in heavy traffic.
-Keep both hands on the brakes. Allow extra time for stopping in the rain.
-Be alert for cars pulling out and make eye contact with the driver to ensure you’re seen.
-Do not weave between parked cars.
-Always ride one to a bike.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, there are things you can do to help protect your rights. The bicycle accident lawyers at Abels& Annes offer free appointments to discuss your case. Call toll free at (866)-99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.