Bicycling is a great way to stay fit, save money on transportation, reduce your carbon footprint, and enjoy the outdoors. However, it's important to remember that bicycling comes with risks, and safety should always be a top priority when riding, especially in a city. In a 2018 report from the Active Transportation Alliance, a bicyclist was killed almost every third day in the greater Chicago region, and 6,098 crashes occurred in Cook County. According to City of Chicago crash data, at least 439 vehicle crashes occurred in Chicago bike lanes from January 2020 through July 2022. While Chicago has made great strides to improve cyclists' safety, certain streets and intersections are still more dangerous than others.
Most Dangerous Streets for Cyclists in Chicago
- Milwaukee Avenue: This busy street runs through various neighborhoods, including Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Avondale, and has a high volume of bike traffic and a high number of crashes involving cyclists.
- Damen Avenue: Another popular bike route, Damen Avenue, has a dedicated bike lane for much of its length. However, several serious accidents involved cyclists on this street, particularly at intersections.
- Western Avenue: Western Avenue is a major north-south street that runs through several neighborhoods, including Bucktown, Logan Square, and West Town. However, it also has many crashes involving cyclists, particularly at intersections.
- Clybourn Avenue: This busy street runs through several neighborhoods, including Lincoln Park, Bucktown, and Wicker Park. Serious accidents have occurred despite the dedicated bike lane.
- Halsted Street: Halsted Street is a major north-south street that runs through several neighborhoods, including Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Bridgeport. It also has a dedicated bike lane but sees several serious accidents involving cyclists yearly.
It's important to note that these are just a few examples of streets that have historically been more dangerous for cyclists in Chicago. With initiatives like the Vision Zero plan, the city is improving safety for all road users and reducing the number of accidents on these and other streets. You can also keep yourself safe by implementing the following tips:
Cycling Safety Tips
- Wear a Helmet: A helmet is the most essential safety equipment when bicycling. A properly fitted helmet can dramatically reduce the risk of head injury in an accident. Make sure your helmet fits snugly and is appropriately adjusted.
- Check Your Equipment: Before you ride, check your bike to ensure it's in good working order. Ensure the brakes are working correctly, the tires are inflated to the recommended pressure, and all parts are securely fastened.
- Be Visible: Ensure you're visible to drivers and cyclists. Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing, especially when riding at night or in low-light conditions. Use lights and reflectors on your bike, and signal your turns and stops.
- Follow the Rules of the Road: Bicycles are considered vehicles subject to the same road rules as cars. Ride in the same direction as traffic, obey traffic signals and signs, and use hand signals to communicate with other drivers and cyclists.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Watch for hazards such as potholes, gravel, or debris on the road. Stay alert for cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists, and be prepared to react quickly if necessary.
- Ride Defensively: Assume drivers don't see you, and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary. Don't assume that cars will yield to you, even if you have the right of way.
- Stay Focused: Avoid distractions like listening to music or using your phone while riding. Keep both hands on the handlebars, and don't carry anything that could interfere with your balance or ability to control the bike.
- Get Proper Training: If you're new to bicycling or last rode a while ago, consider taking a bicycle safety course. You'll learn valuable skills and techniques that can help you stay safe on the road.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of bicycling while minimizing your risks .No matter how diligent bicyclists are about safety, however, some bicyclists will still become the victim of a crash due to the negligence of a driver or pedestrian. If you have been injured, you need an experienced and diligent attorney to increase your chances of recovering damages for your injuries and other losses. A Meyers & Flowers personal injury attorney will evaluate the merits of your case and determine the best way to resolve your case quickly and secure the compensation you deserve.