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Spring Tips for Chicago Bike Riders to Stay Safe

March 29, 2013

On March 6, 2012, the Sun Times reported that the Chicago Department of Transportation has a special crew in place to remove snow from bicycle lanes. The special crew is necessary because smaller equipment is required. The Department of Streets and Sanitation comes through first to remove the snow from the street and then the DOT will come and clear the bike lanes.

Bicycle riders need to be aware that the bike lanes may not be cleared immediately and that there may be problems of ice and snow on bike lanes when a storm occurs. It is best to wait until the snow crew has come through and the DOT has had a chance to put down salt and clear the lanes before riding in the snow.

Of course, our Chicago, IL accident attorneys know that more people tend to ride their bicycles in the warmer months than in the Chicago winter. And there are plenty of safety tips that bicycle riders should keep in mind as the weather starts to get warmer and as bikers head out for a ride this spring and summer.

Bicycle Accident Risks

When the weather improves, more people will opt to go for a bike ride either for recreation or as an alternative way of commuting to work or running errands. The more bikes there are on the road, the greater the chance of an accident happening between a bicycle and a vehicle, a bicycle and a pedestrian or among several cyclists.

Bike accidents have lots of possible causes. Often, they occur because drivers and bike riders are not quite sure how to share the road in a safe way. For example:

  • Bikes may fail to obey the safety rules and may not stop at traffic signals or yield when required. 
  • Drivers may fail to recognize bikes as “equals” on the road and may not give bikes the right-of-way or the space that is required.
  • Bike riders may be distracted or careless and stray out of bicycle lanes into the paths of cars.
  • Drivers may be distracted or careless and may not see a bicycle rider coming.
  • Intoxicated bike riders or drivers may become involved in a collision.
  • Speeding bicycle riders or drivers may lose control and get into a crash.

Unfortunately, when an accident happens, bike riders are most likely to be seriously hurt by the crash because they do not have any protection from the force of the impact.

Tips for Staying Safe

Often a driver is held legally responsible for a bicycle accident because the crash can be attributed to the driver’s negligence. However, bicycle riders can increase their chances of staying safe and avoiding a collision by:

  • Wearing brightly colored clothing so they are easy to see. 
  • Riding during the day time instead of at night when visibility is reduced.
  • Using a bicycle light when riding in the evening.
  • Wearing a helmet every time they ride a bike.

By taking certain steps to protect their own safety, bike riders can hopefully avoid becoming seriously hurt in a bicycle accident.

If you are involved in a bicycle accident in the Chicago, Illinois area, contact Coplan + Crane at 800-394-6002 or visit our Oak Park office.