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Posted on in Bicycle Accidents

Lake County bike injury lawyer

With winter on its way out, bicyclists are starting to ride again throughout the greater Chicago area. Bicycling can be a good form of exercise and way to commute to and from work. Unfortunately, bicyclists are much more susceptible to serious injury than car occupants. Around 467,000 Americans are injured in bicycle accidents each year. The most severe bicycle injuries occur in collisions involving cars. If you or a loved one are injured in a bicycle accident due to driver negligence, contact a trusted personal injury legal team as soon as possible. 

How to Prevent Bike Accidents 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1,000 Americans were fatally injured in bicycle crashes during a recent 12-month study. While many bicycle accidents are unpreventable because of car driver error or damaged pavement, there are a few steps you can take to increase your safety, as you hop back onto your bike this spring. 

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Illinois personal injury attorneyChicago has risen in the ranks of being one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. Based on an article published by RedEye Chicago, the city moved up five spots to the number fifth ranking for Bicycling Magazine’s 2012 best 50 U.S. cities for cycling list. The rankings are determined by a number of city factors including:

  • The number of bike lanes and facilities per square mile of the city;
  • The number of local businesses that are bike-friendly; and
  • The ratio of residents to bike-share bikes.

Despite Chicago’s bustling metropolis and heavy traffic flow, Chicago has improved its efforts to embrace the cycling culture and its community. With that comes a responsibility for cyclists to follow the same safety regulations that drivers and pedestrians abide by to keep the roads safe and avoid bicycle accidents from occurring.

The City of Chicago has created a cycling plan with goals that would include a 645-mile network of facilities to accommodate bicycles within every half mile of every resident by 2020. Its plan also involves development of more bike ways, protected bike lanes, and infrastructure to support city cyclists.

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motorcycle accidentSafety measures and safer driving may have contributed to the decline in number of injuries and deaths involving motor vehicle accidents in the past decade in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2008, reports the CDC, the number of accident-related deaths involving cars and trucks was at the lowest rate in recorded history in the U.S. During the same time period, however, motorcyclist deaths “reached an all-time high, more than doubling between 1999 and 2008,” reports the CDC.

In that decade, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed and more than 1.2 million people were taken to the emergency room for a non-fatal injury sustained on a motorcycle. Younger motorcyclists were far more likely to experience an accident than older motorcyclists—the highest rates of both death and injury were among 20-to-24 year-olds, while the next highest age group of death and injury was to 25-to-29 year-olds. The majority of injuries (approximately one-third) were to the leg or foot, though the next highest number of injuries (approximately one-fifth) were to the head or neck. Injuries to the head or neck were likely more severe.

Several states have, in recent years, initiated campaigns to make other vehicles on the road more aware of motorcyclists. In more concrete safety measures, many states have enacted helmet laws; wearing a helmet while riding has been proven to be the most effective way of preventing traumatic head injuries. There is no federal law that regulates helmet use nationally, but as of 2012, 19 states and Washington D.C. had universal helmet laws. Only three states had no helmet law at all.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

bicycle crashHead injuries can be some of the most traumatic transportation injuries sustained by any road-user across the country. But in major cities like Chicago, where bicycle use has remained at a steady incline in recent years, the rate of head injuries caused in transportation incidents has increased on par. Yet according to WBEZ Chicago, the city’s National Public Radio affiliate, it can be difficult to quantify just how dangerous bike riding really is in the city, when compared to other modes of transportation and recreational activities.

According to WBEZ, the city began tracking specific types of bicycle injuries in April 2010, when reporters began to track the number of “dooring” incidents that occurred within the city limits. “Dooring” refers to an incident in which a cyclist is knocked off his or her bike by a car driver or passenger who opens the door of a parked car into a bike lane at the same time that a cyclist passes. In 2011, WBEZ reports, there were 336 dooring crashes in the Chicago area.

This seems like a small percentage, however, of the 1,302 bike injuries and seven deaths that occurred in the same time period in Chicago. The 2011 figure is significantly reduced from the 2010 figure of 1,583, however, and considerably less than the 2009 figure of 1,402. Still, warns WBEZ, these statistics can be misleading. As more people opt to ride bikes as their main form of transportation, more injuries are bound to occur. Mitigate this with an increased awareness of cyclists on the road and traffic safety measures implemented by the city (such as bike lanes and helmet laws), and the statistics can seem more convoluted than ever.

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Chicago bike accident attorney, Chicago Forward, bicycle safety, cyclist safety, Chicago bicycle rider, bicycle fatalities, bike crashesThe number of bicycle accidents per bicycle rider in Chicago has remained relatively the same in the past decade. Regardless, Chicago, like several other major cities in the country, has introduced several new initiatives to increase cycling safety. Gabe Klein, Chicago Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner, said in a press release that making the streets of Chicago safer for bikers will benefit all residents whether or not they ride a bike. The DOT issues a Bike Crash Report every year that analyzes crashes and where the city can improve safety measures.

Despite these measures, cyclist safety still remains a serious concern in Chicago. According to the 2014 Bike Crash Report, between 2005 and 2010, there were almost 9,000 crashes in which a cyclist was injured, with 32 fatalities. “Perhaps the most important point to be made,” states the report, “is that with proper street design and behavior amongst road users, the overwhelming majority of bicycle crashes are preventable.”

In response, and in an attempt to curb these preventable fatalities, in 2012 the DOT introduced a two-year agenda known as Chicago Forward, to improve all forms of public transportation in the city. The agenda was introduced after city DOT research found that the number of bicycle commuters had increased 150 percent since the turn of the Millennium. That amounts to 15,000 cyclists riding on any given day in the Chicago area.

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