Emanuel would add 100 miles of cycling trails, reduce Chicago bicycle accidents

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel has a plan to expand Chicago’s bicycle network that would reduce the number of Chicago bicycle accidents and give the city 100 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of his first term, the Sun-Times reported.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have reported on the great strides made in turning the area into one of the nation’s best cycling cities. Still, bicycle accidents remain a real threat to the health and safety of those who cycle for fun, transportation or fitness.
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The Illinois Department of Transportation reports 1,460 Chicago bicycle accidents occurred in 2009, claiming 5 lives and injuring nearly 1,400.

Emanuel’s plan includes the creation of the Bloomingdale Trail — a $75 million, 2.65-mile trail built along Bloomingdale Avenue for cyclists traveling downtown and for school children traveling to one of the dozen schools nearby. He also wants to require downtown buildings to offer bike storage. A similar law has been passed in New York City and was successful in increasing the number of commuter cyclists.

NYC’s plan included adding 200 miles of bile lanes. Transportation Alternatives reports the improvements increased the average number of daily cyclists to 236,000 — up 28 percent from the 185,000 daily cyclists the previous year.

The number of miles traveled by bike also increased, from 1.4 million to 1.8 million.

Authorities increasingly see cycling as a viable option to reduce congestion. But, while the number of other types of fatal accident has declined in recent years, the increasing popularity of cycling has held fatality numbers constant at between 700 and 800 per year. In 2008, 716 cyclists were killed and more than 52,000 were injured in bicycle accidents nationwide.

Middle-aged men are now the most likely to be killed in a bicycle accident; that age has increased from 32 in 1998 to 41 in 2008. Nearly two-thirds of all bicycle fatalities now involve an adult between the ages of 25 and 64.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a cycling crash, the Chicago bicycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.