Abels & Annes

Mayor Emanuel Pushes Effort to Reduce Risks of Bicycling Accidents in Chicago

As we’ve recently reported on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, made a promise to residents and to cyclists to construct 100 miles of shared bike lanes. He’s coming through on his promise so far as he’s been focusing efforts on the Kinzie bike lane. This is the bike lane that was constructed to keep bicyclists safe from accidents with motor vehicles. The bike lane has already attracted a large number of cyclists and has been able to reduce rush hour motor-vehicle traffic significantly.
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He’s continuing on with his promise. Emanuel says that he wants to make Chicago one of the best places to bike in the U.S. once again. The advocacy for safer biking conditions actually started back when mayoral candidate Carter H. Harrison II, campaigned as “the cyclists’ champion” in the 19th century, according to BikeRadar. Surprisingly though, once Harrison was elected into office, he grew the city to its current size and turned it into a modern metropolis — an area ideal for motorists, not bicyclists.

The previous mayor, Richard M. Daley, was also an advocate for bicyclists in the area. He spent more than 22 years in office and provided the city with more than 100 miles of biking lanes, in part to help prevent car-bicycle accidents in Chicago. Emanuel is carrying on the promise with his vow to provide the area with more than 100 miles of additional bike lanes. He’s also backing the new bike-sharing program that will allow residents to use some of the 3,000 bikes in the program.

“I think he has done a great job of mentioning the things that need to be done,” Julie Hochstadter, who serves as vice president of the Chicago Cycle Club.

According to the Gabe Klein, the Transportation Commissioner, the additional bike lanes are going to cost the city somewhere around $30 million. He states that the city has already applied for federal funding from the clean air program and has combined the bike-lane project with some maintenance construction for nearby roads.

Programs like this could potentially keep Chicago residents from moving to the suburbs, says Hochstadter. She also says that creating more protected boulevards could prove a way to offer residents with alternative ways to travel for daily commutes. She brings up the recent study that was conducted by the Transportation Commissioner’s office that concluded that more than 20 percent of the rush hour traffic on Milwaukee Avenue is made up of bicyclists anyway.

To help accommodate bicyclists even more, the Chicago Department of Transportation recently announced the arrival of new bike racks. Back in September, crews hit the city to install new bike racks. As of now, roughly 150 of the 750 bike racks have already been installed. CDOT is planning on finishing this installation project by the end of October. The project will bring nearly 2,500 bike racks to the city. The funds for this project were provided by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program.

In addition to these bike racks, the city’s Bicycle Parking team recently launched its efforts to remove bikes that have been abandoned throughout our city. The team has collected about 100 bikes so far and has donated then to charity.

If you or someone you love 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.

Additional Resources:

Chicago’s mayor sold on bikes, by Peter Suciu, BikeRadar
More Blog Entries:

Chicago bike accident lawyer files Cook County lawsuit on behalf of injured teen, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 27, 2011

Illinois Department of Transportation Welcomes Bicyclists for Safe Summer Fun, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 20, 2011