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Is Car Culture Making Travel Unsafe for Bicyclists and Pedestrians?

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Car culture is putting cyclists and pedestrians at increased risk of injury or death from motor vehicle accidents in Chicago. Helmets, reflectors, and other safety equipment can reduce the risk of serious injury or death, but they can’t eliminate the danger. When cyclists and pedestrians are involved in a motor vehicle collision, an accident lawyer can help them pursue compensation for their claim.

The Risk of Accidents

In 2015, there were roughly 45,000 bicycle accidents in the United States. From 2014 to 2015, the number of fatal crashes rose by 12%. In 2017, an alarming 5,977 pedestrians and 783 cyclists were killed in crashes. In Albuquerque, Tucson, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Francisco, cyclists were at the greatest risk. Conversely, cities where riders were least at risk included Oklahoma City, Dallas, Boston, Seattle, and San Diego. Some cities are safe while others are more dangerous due to factors such as traffic congestion, the presence of bike paths, the number of people who cycle on any given day, and the use of public awareness campaigns aimed at preparing riders, pedestrians, and drivers to share the road.

Chicago Isn’t Rider Friendly

Chicago is not a bike-friendly city. Dangerous intersections such as Halsted and Madison, sprawling construction sites, crowded roads, blind corners, and a general lack of clearly defined bike paths on many streets make riding in the city particularly hazardous for riders. A ride to work or to the store is akin to taking a chance on a deadly obstacle course. Helmets, reflective gear, and other safety equipment can reduce the risk for injuries, but the risk of getting hit by a car remains.

Keeping Cyclists and Pedestrians Safe Around Cars

Legislators and city officials are currently considering a number of proposals that would help reduce the rate of cycling and pedestrian accidents in the city. These proposals include improving road signage and requiring city trucks and other vehicles to have side-guards that would prevent cyclists and pedestrians from getting caught underneath the vehicle. While these future improvements may reduce the risk of injury or death in the city, they don’t do anything to protect people today. In that regard, the only things people can do is to plan their routes carefully, wear helmets when riding, and avoid streets where heavy traffic and limited space make maneuvering down the road particularly hazardous.

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