Cyclists and motorists alike should keep safety in mind as spring brings with it an increase in traffic and the risk of serious or fatal Chicago bicycling accidents.
The federal government supports the use of bicycle helmets and bicycle helmet laws as the best defense against head injuries in a bicycle accident.
More than 51,000 bicyclists have died in traffic crashes in the U.S. since 1932, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A federal study in 2006 found that 773 cyclists were killed and more than 44,000 injured.
In 2008, a total of 27 bicycle riders were killed and 3,385 seriously injured in Illinois bicycle accidents.
The estimated annual cost of serious and fatal bicycle accidents is more than $8 billion.
With the growing popularity of cycling for recreation or fitness, the average age of cyclist killed in an accident has increased to 41 — more than one-third of all fatalities occur to riders ages 35 to 54 and more than 80 percent of all bicycle accident victims are men.
– Children under 14 accounted for 98 fatalities, or 13 percent of bicycle accident deaths.
-13 percent were ages 15 to 24.
– 12 percent were 25 to 34.
– 36 percent were 35 to 54 years old.
– 25 percent were 55 or older.
The federal government reports that bicycle helmets are almost 90 percent effective in mitigating head and brain injuries, making them the single most-effective safety measure a rider can take. Currently, 21 states and more than 149 cities have bicycle helmet laws, primarily geared to young riders under the age of 16.
Current law requires all messengers in the City of Chicago to wear a bicycle helmet. Several other Illinois municipalities also have helmet ordinances, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago bicycle accident lawyers and the personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.