Now that spring has arrived in Chicago and the weather is warming up, more and more people are using their bicycles to commute to work, to exercise, to get around the city, or just to have fun. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are dedicated to keeping bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists safe, and the following are some bicycle safety tips to keep in mind:
- Always follow the rules of the road and obey traffic signals. In an effort to make Chicago safer for bicyclists, the city created its first two-way protected bike lanes with cyclist-specific traffic signals through the center of downtown on Dearborn Street in December of 2012. Although the cyclist-specific signals seem to go a long way in getting bicyclists to obey traffic laws and signals, some city officials have suggested 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. It is important that bicyclists obey all traffic laws and signals, whether they are specific signals for bicyclists or signals for all who use the road.
- Always wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet to protect against traumatic head injuries.
- See and be seen. Bicyclists should 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.
- Keep at least on hand on the handlebars at all times and maintain control over the bicycle.
- Properly maintain your bicycle. Make sure that tires are inflated, brakes are in proper working condition, and the seat is adjusted to the proper height. 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.
- Watch for road hazards. If possible, avoid potholes, broken glass, puddles, leaves, dogs, and other road hazards since they can cause you to lose control of the bicycle or veer into traffic.
- Never text while riding a bicycle. In 2011, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance banning texting for bicyclists. Violators face fines of $20 to $50 for a first offense, with fines increasing for each subsequent violation. If the offense results in a traffic accident, the fine could be as much as $500. Although texting or talking on a cell phone while riding a bicycle may seem like a relatively harmless activity, it can be nearly as dangerous as texting while driving. Distracted bikers may swerve into oncoming traffic and trigger an auto accident between other vehicles on the road who try to avoid hitting the bicyclist. A distracted bicyclist could also collide with a motor vehicle on the road, potentially causing substantial injuries to the bicyclists and property damage to the vehicle.
At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago traffic 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 personal injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible personal injury claim. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) 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.