May is National Bike Month, a time of year that many bicycle advocacy groups use to raise awareness of cycling and to remind motorists of the presence of bikes on local roads. This issue is important in Chicago because of the large number of commuters who choose to ride to and from work in addition to those who ride bicycles for pleasure or exercise. The laws in Chicago govern the transit of these bikes just like they do the transit of vehicles and if everyone on the roads obeyed all laws, these two groups could coexist harmoniously.
Unfortunately, the real world reflects that some cyclists and some drivers fail to follow all applicable traffic rules and laws and therefore cause dangerous situations that may lead to a bicycle accident. The victims of these accidents who suffer injuries may be inconvenienced for some time or may be permanently harmed due to these collisions and they may be forced to incur substantial medical expenses. The laws in Illinois understand that collisions happen and injuries may result and therefore the laws have established procedures through which a victim can obtain payment for his or her injuries. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help you realize your options if you have been injured and if you have questions following a Chicago-area accident.
Of course, it is always best to prevent an accident from occurring, so in honor of National Bike Month, the personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. remind you of the following safety tips:
– Obey all traffic signals: In some areas of Chicago, cyclists have their own traffic signals. In others, they share signals with vehicular traffic. Regardless of the areas in which you ride, make sure you obey the proper signals and start and stop only when authorized to do so at an intersection.
– Ride with traffic: To follow the laws and to optimize safety, make sure you always ride with vehicular traffic and not against it.
– Use extra caution when attempting a left turn: Left turn accidents are some of the most common that occur involving cyclists because motorists often do not expect these turns to occur. If you intend to turn left at an intersection while riding a bicycle, make sure you use extra caution and be prepared to stop suddenly if necessary.
– Ride in a bicycle-only lane if one exists: If you happen to ride on one of the Chicago roads that has a lane marked exclusively for bicycle traffic, make sure you utilize it to separate yourself from other forms of traffic.
– Watch for opening vehicular doors: Unfortunately, people who park along streets in Chicago sometimes open their car doors into the path of an oncoming bicyclist, causing that cyclist to strike the door and possibly sustain injuries. Though it is a motorist’s duty to refrain from this action, cyclists should still watch out for this conduct so that they can avoid these crashes if possible.
– Utilize safety gear: Often, bicyclists do everything possible to ride safely and to avoid an accident yet they are still harmed due to the actions of another. To decrease the chances of a serious injury, always utilize safety gear, including a helmet, if you intend to ride a bicycle in Chicago.
If you have been the unfortunate victim of a bicycle accident, call the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and let us provide you with a free case consultation without obligation. We are available 24 hours a day and if we represent you, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
Prior Blog Entry:
Car Accident in Des Plaines Kills Teen, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published May 7, 2015.