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Bicycle Safety in Chicago

Bicycles are a common mode of transportation in Chicago, especially during the summer months as more people use bicycles to commute to work, to exercise, or for recreational purposes.

In an effort to make Chicago safer for bicyclists, the city created its first two-way protected bike lanes through the center of downtown on Dearborn Street in December of 2012. In the months since the bike lanes and cyclist-specific traffic laws were implemented, city officials have concluded that cyclist-specific signals go a long way in getting bicyclists to obey traffic laws. According to the Chicago Tribune, monitoring by the Chicago Department of Transportation showed that the number of bicyclists who stop for red lights has improved by 161 percent since cyclist-specific traffic signals, which glow with the image of a bike on the lens, were installed.

Some city officials suggest that the sharp increase in the number of bicyclists who obey the cyclist-specific traffic signals highlights the fact that many bicyclists deliberately disregard traffic laws elsewhere.

Bicyclists are reminded to always obey traffic laws, whether cyclist-specific traffic laws or shared traffic laws. Bicyclists are also reminded to remember the following safety tips, as recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Wear a Properly Fitted Bicycle Helmet.  A properly fitted can protect your brain from traumatic head injuries and potentially save your life.

  • Adjust Your Bicycle To The Proper Heights. Younger children should be able to put one foot on the ground while seated on the bike seat; for older children and adults, there should be 1 to 2 inches between the bicyclist and the bike bar if using a road bike, and 3 to 4 inches if a mountain bicycle.

  • Check All Bike Equipment.  Make sure that tires are inflated and brakes are working properly before riding your bike.

  • See and Be Seen. It is recommended that bicyclists wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors whether riding during the day or at night, along with reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights if biking at night.

  • Maintain Control Over Your Bicycle. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars.

  • Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards. Be mindful of road hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs.

  • Avoid Riding at Night If Necessary. It is much more dangerous to ride your bike at night than during the daytime because you are not as visible to motorists. If you must ride at night, make sure to wear something that will allow you to be easily seen by motorists like florescent clothing or reflective tape, and that your bike is equipped with reflectors.

At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago motor vehicle accident lawyers represent people who have been injured as a result of the negligence of another motorist, including bicyclists who have been injured in an auto accident. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident as a result of motorist negligence, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible personal injury claim.

Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.


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