Riders remain at high-risk for Chicago bicycle accidents

Chicago bicycle accidents remain a serious threat, particularly for middle-aged men, despite newly released statistics that show a significant decline in the number of fatal cycling accidents nationwide.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported this month that 630 cyclists were killed and 51,000 were injured in bicycle accidents in 2009. That’s down 12 percent from the 718 who were killed in 2008.Twenty riders were killed in Illinois bicycle accidents; that’s down from 27 who died in 2008. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports Chicago bicycle accidents accounted for one-fourth of all fatal crashes, claimed five lives and injuries nearly 1,400.

Officials continue to look for ways to improve safety. Last fall, we reported on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog that officials were looking to expand the Lakefront Trail in an effort to reduce congestion and the risk of Chicago bicycle and pedestrian accidents.

The new data released by the government also confirms a growing trend as cycling for recreation and fitness has become increasingly popular: Middle-aged men are most at risk. The average age of cyclists killed was 41, while the average age of those injured was 31. More than 80 percent of those injured or killed were men and about one-third of all those fatally injured (244) were ages 35 to 54.

Cycling Safety Tips:

-Wear brightly colored clothing, and use reflective tape, lights and reflectors at night.

-Use hand signals and obey all traffic laws.

-Drivers need to share the road — giving a rider at least 3-feet of clearance at all times.

-Drivers and riders alike should pay particular attention at intersections, where many crashes occur.

-Drivers need to watch for riders before opening car doors or pulling out of parking lots or parallel parking spots.

-Riders should ride in the same direction as traffic.

If you have been injured in a crash, the Chicago bike accident attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free case evaluations to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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