Rahm Emanuel and Gabe Klein, Chicago’s new transportation head, continue to push their views on a bicycle-friendly transportation policy and city infrastructure, according to the Huffington Post. The new plans are expected to make traveling more convenient for residents and to help to prevent bicycling accidents in Chicago.
Year after year, the city of Chicago ranks as a “silver” designation for being a bike-friendly city. In the 2011 League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community Rankings, our area was ranked the same Austin, Denver, Washington D.C. and New York City. With the promises from local officials, the city is expected to join the ranks of areas like San Francisco, Portland and Minneapolis, where bicycling is used as a safe and vital tool for many urban residents.
Our Chicago bicycle accident attorneys understand that there were roughly 600 cyclists killed in traffic-related accidents in 2009 in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 50,000 additional bicycling injuries during the year. About 2 percent of all of the traffic-related accidents in Chicago were made up of bicycling accidents in 2008. In the state of Illinois, there were hundreds of injured bicyclists and 2 fatalities during that year. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if more bicycle-friendly roadways were available.
The state’s current bicycle infrastructure in Chicago from CDOT’s Bicycle Program, according to Grid Chicago:
-More than 120 miles of on-road bike lanes.
-More than 30 miles of marked shared lanes.
-Half a mile addition of car-separated bicycling tracks (Kinzie Street).
-Fifty miles of paved, off-road trails (The Lake Shore Path).
-Nearly 12,500 on-street racks for bicycles.
-A bicycle parking corral, located on Milwaukee near Damen.
-Six kiosks for bike-sharing.
Back in July, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced the expansion of the Kinzie. This car-separated track is now 2 miles long. According to Active Transportation Alliance, CDOT will be installing more protected bike lanes on 18th Street from Elston Avenue and Clark and Canal and from North to Milwaukee. This project will complete nearly 4 miles of protected biking lanes. Only 96 more miles to go in the next four years to make Emanuel’s promise of 100 more miles of biking lanes a reality.
Back in September, Chicago announced that it will be launching a new bike-share program. This project is to focus on regular commuters and residents instead of tourists. This program is planning on installing roughly 300 stations and roughly 3,000 bikes for residents to rent and use. The program is also expected to install an additional 200 stations and 2,000 bikes by the end of the summer in 2012.
In 2009, there were nearly 1,500 bicycling accidents in Chicago. Of these accidents, six people died. In 2010, there were more than 1,600 bicycling accidents reported to Chicago officials. During this year, 5 bicyclists were killed. The intersection of Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted has been named as the third most dangerous intersection on Milwaukee Avenue as it has reported the highest number of car-bicycle accidents. Still officials have done virtually nothing to improve this area. Safe biking advocates hope that the newly released stats of bicycling accidents in Chicago will be used to determine which areas need the most work done to make bicyclists safe.
With all of these bicycle plans, and many more in the future, Chicago is expected to one day become ideal for all travelers among our roadways; bicyclists, cyclists and motor vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
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