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Bike Helmet Use in Chicago

Posted on in Car Accidents

bike helmet, bike helmets for adults, Chicago bike accident attorney, Chicago bike helmet laws, helmet useThe percentage of people who use a bicycle as a primary form of transportation has increased in recent years – especially in major cities like Chicago where cyclist safety initiatives and bike lane building have taken root as one of the most powerful issues for local politicians. The number of people killed in bicycle accidents, however, has stayed relatively the same.

Any decline in fatalities could be construed as a result of an increasing driver awareness of cyclists and riders on the roads. It could also be the result of legislative initiatives such as bicycle traffic lights and aforementioned bike lanes.

Yet the oldest safety measure in the book may actually be on the decline. According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, “the most serious injuries among a majority of those killed are to the head, illustrating the importance of wearing a helmet for all cyclists, regardless of age or riding location."

In fact, the percentage of people killed in bike accidents who were not wearing a helmet has increased in recent years. Though the percentage peaked in 1998 (in 98 percent of all fatalities the rider was not wearing a helmet), the statistic is slowly climbing again. In 2004, the percentage of people who died in a bike crash and were not wearing helmets dropped to 83 percent. By 2009, that number had risen to 91 percent.

There are several cyclist laws in the City of Chicago, but the city does not have a law that requires adult cyclists to wear helmets. Many states have laws that require children to wear helmets when riding, and noted in a different report from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, Barrington, Cicero, Inverness, and Skokie all require young people to wear a helmet when riding. And as reported by the Chicago Tribune, Oak Park is the most recent Chicago neighborhood to approve a bike helmet law. Enacted in December of 2013, the law punishes parents of kids under 17 who are not wearing a helmet with either a $25 fine or four hours of community service.

The City of Chicago requires that bike messengers must wear a helmet when riding, no matter their age, but has no specific legislation governing the use of helmets by adults who do not bike for a living.

If you have been injured in a bike accident in the Chicago area in which you were not at fault, you may be entitled to compensation whether or not you were wearing a helmet. Do not go through it alone. Contact a Chicago bike accident attorney today.
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