Chicago is a big, beautiful city with a picturesque lakefront and many places for bicyclists to adventure. Additionally, our roads provide over 200 miles of designated and shared bike lanes to help ensure bicyclists have safe passage to and from their destinations within the city. In fact, in 2016, Bicycling magazine named Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the country.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, you may want to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Chicago bicycle accident attorney from Shea Law Group.
Safe Biking Practices
Living in a bike-friendly city is only part of the equation. If you want to avoid being involved in a bicycle accident, following tried and true biking practices can help. One of the most important precautions you can take to stay safe as a bicyclist is to wear a helmet. In fact, the most common cause of death for bicyclists is head injury. However, a helmet only helps once you are involved in an accident. The real goal of bike safety is to avoid an accident in the first place.
The most common way to get hit (or almost get hit) is by a car entering the roadway from a parking lot, side street, or driveway on the right. The best way to avoid this is to ride as far left in your lane as possible and do whatever else it takes to make yourself more visible to these motorists. This includes using a light, bright clothing, and even waving your arm if you feel you are not being seen.
Another common accident occurs when a driver opens their door once they park their car. If you are too close to the parked cars, you will either be hit by the door, or run into it when it is opened. Again, visibility and caution, as well as riding toward the left side of your lane are the keys to avoiding this type of accident.
Bicyclists are often seriously injured by a vehicle turning right – right into them. This can be avoided by not stopping in the driver’s blind spot at a red light. Furthermore, taking up your entire bike lane, rather than riding on the extreme edge where you are easily overlooked, allows the cars at the intersection to see you better.
Other common-sense practices include staying off of the cell phone while riding, getting a rear light and wearing a reflective safety vest, and get a mirror (either for your handlebars or your helmet) and use it!
It is a good idea to ride as if you were invisible, not that you want to be invisible to motorists, you just want to make it irrelevant as to whether they see you or not. In other words, ride so it won’t matter if the motorist near you sees you. If you are riding in such a way that a motorist has to see you to avoid hitting you, if they don’t see you, they will surely hit you!
Shea Law Group
Hopefully some of these tips will help to keep you safe while you are out and about on your bicycle. However, even when a bicyclist does everything right, it is still possible to become involved in an accident. Give us a call at (877)-365-0040 to book a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.