Every year, thousands of visitors flock to Chicago over the 4th of July weekend to celebrate the anniversary of America’s independence in one of the greatest cities in the nation. With the world-class fireworks display at Navy Pier and the abundant selection of food and culture throughout the weekend, it is no wonder that so many choose to make Chicago their home-away-from-home on one of the biggest holiday weekends of the summer.
These tourists, coupled with those who call Chicago home, contribute to the electric atmosphere that reverberates around the town and that infuses the city with life and with fun. Most of those who will celebrate 4th of July here will do so safely and without issue, creating memories that will last for years to come. However, not everyone will be that lucky as there are always incidents that lead to injuries and, sometimes, that cause death over the weekend. Whether it is a pedestrian accident, bicycle collision, or a car crash, everyone who plans to spend time in Chicago should be aware of looming dangers and should attempt to avoid them when possible.
Based on years’ worth of experience representing injury victims who are hurt in Chicago, the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. suggest the following safety tips to ensure that your celebration is as risk-free as possible:
– Watch for Pedestrians at All Times: Chicago is no stranger to heavy pedestrian traffic. If you spend time in the Loop on a weekday, you have a good understanding of how many people walk the city and just where those people might be found at any given point in time. However, while 4th of July is on a Saturday this year and Saturdays usually have a decreased pedestrian presence that weekdays, that is unlikely to be the case as thousands will utilize public transit and private cars to enter the city for the fireworks from Navy Pier. If you are driving, constantly look for pedestrians near the waterfront but also look for them near popular transit areas including Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center.
– Anticipate Pedestrians Crossing Outside of a Crosswalk: Pedestrians should always utilize a crosswalk if they want to switch from one side of the street to another but it is still up to drivers to avoid jaywalking pedestrians and prevent a collision whenever possible. Anticipate the fact that many people in Chicago this weekend will be unfamiliar with the city’s streets and may be confused about where and when they should cross. Look for confused pedestrians and be ready to avoid them at all times.
– Expect Drunk Drivers: The fact that this will be a holiday weekend has no effect on the Illinois laws regarding driving while drunk or impaired. In fact, several police agencies have announced that they will be increasing enforcement efforts in an attempt to identify and apprehend drunk drivers before an accident happens. Never drink and drive and do not let a friend drive while impaired if you plan to celebrate the 4th of July with alcohol. But even if you are responsible, you may still be the victim of a drunk driving car accident if another driver near your vehicle fails to act responsibly. Be prepared to drive defensively and report any suspicious driving activities you notice to local police.
– Be Mindful of Bicyclists: If you are not a regular driver in Chicago, you may not realize how heavy bicycle traffic can be, especially in the downtown area. The laws in the city clearly provide these riders with the rights to operate in the road and they also grant cyclists the same protections as the drivers of cars. Note the rights of bicyclists and always respect those rights by yielding the right-of-way where appropriate and by operating your vehicle with safety in mind. Failing to do so may result in a bicycle accident and may cause injuries or even death to those involved.
The lawyers and legal staff at Abels & Annes, P.C. wish you and your family a joyous and safe 4th of July weekend free from accidents or other injuries.
However, if tragedy strikes and you or your loved one are harmed, know that we will have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to take your call toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and to talk about your legal rights. We offer all victims a free case consultation without obligation and if we represent you in your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
Enjoy the 4th of July and know that Abels & Annes, P.C. will be available if you need us.
Prior Blog Entry:
Abrupt Lane Change Causes Fatal Accident on I-80, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 30, 2015.