Summer Bike Accident Dangers in Chicago

May 19, 2016

Recently, a 47-year-old man from McKinley Park was riding his bicycle when he became trapped underneath an SUV near 35th and Lowe. The SUV driver was allegedly operating the vehicle erratically according to DNA Info.

The incident occurred around 6:00 PM on a Monday and the SUV dragged the bicycle rider along as his bike was caught underneath the car.

Despite the fact the bicyclist kept screaming for the driver to stop, he told the news that “the car kept dragging me and dragging me and dragging me.” The SUV eventually stopped in front of a firehouse because the bicycle rider’s screaming caught the attention of firefighters nearby. The driver was reportedly driving with a suspended license and the bicyclist thinks he may have been trying to flee to avoid responsibility for this infraction. He has now been charged with reckless driving, making an improper U-turn, and failing to exercise caution around a pedestrian.

The bicycle rider luckily survived the harrowing ordeal, although a tree branch pierced his arm and he also sustained other serious injuries including road rash which was so bad you could see bone and muscle. While the injuries were serious enough to land him in intensive care, the bicycle rider is lucky to be alive after the incident. Not everyone survives bicycle accidents in Chicago, and drivers and bicyclists need to be aware of the risks as the summer season arrives and more bike riders are out on the roads.

Bicycle Accident Risks in Chicago

A bike rider could be at risk of an accident anywhere, especially if drivers don’t follow the rules, if they operate their vehicles in a dangerous manner, or if they don’t respect the rights of bicyclists. Politics & City Life in Chicago Magazine indicates that Wicker Park is the area with the highest rate of bike crashes, but it is difficult for experts to tell if this is simply because this is one of the areas with the most bikers in the city or if if there are some conditions resulting in high crash rates in this location.

A stretch of North Milwaukee was a site of multiple crashes over the course of the year, and North Wells Street was another common location for bike crashes.

Drivers should be aware of high risk locations where there are lots of bike riders and should try to ensure they don’t put bicyclists at risk in these locations. This means driving at a reasonable speed, staying off phones and avoiding other distractions, and being extra cautious to look out for bike riders.

Drivers also need to yield the right of way when required to bicyclists, and shouldn’t try to get too close to bike riders when passing.  Leaving at least four feet between the car and the bike when trying to pass is considered a best practice and drivers should make sure they respect bike lanes and leave plenty of room for riders.