The face of bicycling has changed dramatically in the last decade. According to a study conducted byte he Gluskin Townley Group, ridership among children decreased 20 percent between 2000 and 2010 but the number of adult riders during that same time period increased across the county. This illustrates what many drivers may have already noticed: cycling is not only for children any more. In Chicago, bicycling is increasing annually as more people take to the roads to ride to work and around the town, favoring a bicycle over a personal car, a taxi cab, a bus, or a train. In response, the City of Chicago has enacted several safety features to keep these riders safe, from shared bicycle lanes to bicycle paths to protected bicycle lanes that serve only cyclist.
While the city has taken steps to increase safety, bicycle accidents continue to occur every year and continue to leave riders and others injured, and in the worst cases, killed. In fact, the Governors Highway Safety Association recently determined that Illinois had the 5th most bicycle-related deaths in the country based on data between 2010 and 2012.
The study, Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicycle Safety, revealed other shocking statistics, including the fact that the number of bicycle fatalities increase 16 percent in Illinois between 2010 and 2012 with a total of 80 deaths. This put Illinois fifth in the total number of fatalities behind California, Florida, Texas, and New York. Nationally, the number of deaths caused by cycling in urban areas has increased from 50 percent in 1975 to 69 percent in 2012.
The increase in urban fatalities supports that the trend witnessed in Chicago is happening everywhere: a greater number of adult riders are taking to bicycles, regardless of where they live or what they do for a living. While riding a bike is great exercise and can be an efficient and cost-effective means of transportation, bicycle accidents continue to occur and cause serious injuries in those involved in the crash.
The laws across the country vary from state to state so it is important to know your rights if you have been involved in a bicycle accident. In Chicago and across Illinois, victims have the right to seek financial compensation for their damages, whether those damages are in the form of medical bills, rehabilitative expenses, lost wages from time missed from work, or pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand your options if you have been involved in a crash, including whether you have one or more valid claims for your losses.