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“Pathletes" Especially at Risk of Injury during Summer Months

Posted on in Bicycle Accidents

Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,Car accidents in a congested, traffic-heavy city like Chicago are exceedingly common year-round. However, during warm weather months, many more accidents injure and kill both pedestrians and cyclists. With spring temperatures on the rise and training for the Chicago Marathon to begin in the next several weeks, many serious runners will begin flooding the lakefront trail, the Bloomingdale Trail (the “606”), and even streets.

Chicago is also home to thousands of avid cyclists who use the paths and roads daily. The city estimates that up to 30,000 people use the lakefront trail alone every day, but that number increases to as many as 70,000 on a summer weekend day. The combination of so many runners, pedestrians, and cyclists on paths and trails can have disastrous consequences.

In 2014, a 27-year-old woman living in Old Town was seriously injured in a collision with a cyclist while jogging on the lakefront trail. The victim suffered a fractured skull and bleeding in her brain, but chose not to press charges against the cyclist. Instead, she immersed herself in urging the city to separate cyclists and other users on the trail. The victim is not the only one pushing for the separation.

The Active Transportation Alliance, one of the most active alternative transportation advocates in the city, launched a petition to separate bikes from pedestrians on the trail, among other safety issues including increasing awareness and enforcement of trail etiquette among all users. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced early this year that he, too, wants to split the trail into separate lanes for bikers and those traveling on foot to increase users’ safety.

Safety Tips for Using City Paths and Trails

Whether a lane split will solve all of the safety issues occurring on trails and paths remains to be seen. Even with the proposed split, many areas of lakefront path and all other city trails will remain unchanged. With or without separate lanes, runners, cyclists, and pedestrians are all responsible for safely sharing the city trails. We can all work together to prevent serious injuries and fatal accidents by implementing the following tips:

  • The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others on trails is to be alert at all times. Do not become distracted by using your cell phone, headphones, or other devices while on the paths. If you choose to use headphones, use only one ear-bud, or keep the volume on low so you can hear approaching traffic;
  • Look behind you and both ways before crossing the path. Many accidents are caused by users unpredictably crossing into another lane or changing directions without warning;
  • Be a predictable user by staying to the right, signaling when passing with an audible “on your left” shout, and always checking before crossing lanes;
  • Expect other users to be unpredictable on the path. Give as much space as possible between you and other users when passing and following to allow room to dodge an accident if necessary;
  • Do not block the path when traveling in groups. Avoid walking, running, or cycling several people wide, and allow other users room to pass you on the left at all times; and
  • Wear brightly colored and reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to other runners and cyclists.

What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident

Despite all safety precautions, accidents still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle or pedestrian accident, the experienced Lake County personal injury attorneys at Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. can provide the representation you need to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 847-662-3303 to schedule your free case consultation today.







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