​Where Do Bike Accidents Happen in Chicago?

March 30, 2023 | David Abels
​Where Do Bike Accidents Happen in Chicago?

Even with protected bike lanes, driver awareness campaigns, and city officials increasing bicycle infrastructure, anywhere in Chicago is a potential location for a bicycle accident.

From busy intersections to popular neighborhoods, here are the top locations where bike accidents happen in Chicago and how to deal with them when you get into one.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation

Locations Bike Accidents Are Likely to Occur in Chicago

Chicago is a large city, and cycling accidents can happen just about anywhere at any time. However, bike collisions are more likely to occur in the following areas. 

Intersections

With the size of Chicago’s urban area, there are countless intersections. Some of the busiest intersections see thousands of cars every single day, meaning accidents of all kinds are highly likely.

Some of the most dangerous intersections in Chicago include:

  • East 79th Street and South Stony Island Avenue
  • East 9th Street and South Stony Island Avenue
  • West Garfield Boulevard and South Wells Street
  • West Garfield Boulevard and South Wentworth Ave
  • North Michigan Avenue and East Wacker Drive
  • West 47th Street and South Western Boulevard
  • West Cermak Road and South Clark Street
  • West Ontario Street and North Orleans Street
  • North Halsted Street and West Hubbard Street
  • North Columbus Drive and East Wacker Drive
  • Underpass near 3800 North Milwaukee Avenue

While these are some of the most dangerous intersections in the city, remain vigilant at every intersection you cross while on a bicycle, as some lack protected bike lane features such as rails, guards, or markings that keep cars from colliding with bicycle riders.

Arterial Roads

An arterial road is situated below a freeway and facilitates the movement of traffic on and off the highway or around different parts of the city. Because there happens to be so much traffic on arterial roads, collisions frequently happen on these roads.

Bike accidents are prone to happen in certain neighborhoods throughout the city of Chicago because of traffic and congestion.

Neighborhoods where bike accidents happen most frequently in Chicago include:

  • The Magnificent Mile
  • The Loop
  • Grant Park
  • River North
  • Gold Coast
  • Millennium Park

Around these areas, more accidents of all kinds are reported, including bicycle accidents. Collisions are especially likely during busy traffic hours in the morning, evenings, or at night. 

Designated and Protected Bike Lanes

Designated bike lanes throughout Chicago have seen countless bicycle accidents throughout the years.

Even with the city's efforts to make these bike lanes safe for cyclists, it just hasn't been enough to completely prevent collisions, injuries, and deaths altogether.

Some of the most dangerous designated and protected bike lanes in the city of Chicago include:

  • North Damen Avenue bike lane
  • Halsted Street bike lane
  • Wells Street bike lane
  • Clark Street bike lane
  • North Milwaukee Avenue bike lane

Approximately 280 miles of bike lane runs through Chicago, but very few of these miles, only about 40, offer cyclists protected lanes.

What Makes Chicago so Dangerous for Bicyclists?

Lawyer for Bike Accident in Chicago

Over 2.5 million people live in Chicago, making it the most populous city in the Midwest and the third largest in the United States.

Combine the population density with tight streets and a reputation for reckless driving, and it's no wonder bike riders in Chicago face an uphill battle when it comes to staying safe.

Traffic from oncoming and parked cars adds to their risk. According to a study by the Chicago Department of Transportation, around 70% of all bike accidents in the city involve collisions with motor vehicles.

But it isn't just cars that pose a threat to cyclists in Chicago. The city's infrastructure also makes it dangerous to ride a bike.

With few off-street trails and protected bike lanes, riders are forced to share the road with cars, buses, and trucks. This is particularly risky when navigating busy intersections, where drivers may not always see or respect cyclists.

Additionally, the city's harsh weather conditions can also make biking in Chicago without getting into a hit-and-run or collision with a car, truck, or bus more difficult.

From reduced visibility to slippery roads that diminish safe stopping distance, riders are forced to contend with many dangerous elements that can lead to bicycle accidents.

What Can Cause A Chicago Bicycle Accident?

Speeding

Speeding is one of the primary causes of road accidents, particularly in Chicago. For bicycle riders, a speeding driver means more severe accidents, as bicycles offer much less protection than motor vehicles.

While speeding in Chicago happens at major intersections, highways, and school zones, it most frequently occurs on arterial roadways. With these roadways lacking safety measures to keep cars and trucks in check, it is easy to see why bicycle accidents happen so often in these areas.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving encompasses many behaviors, including following too closely (tailgating), unsafe lane changes, and weaving in and out of lanes. While arguments are valid for defensive and offensive driving styles, aggressive driving is never a suitable option.

Aggressive driving near a bike lane or cyclist can cause the rider to swerve and lose control, leading to an accident. Furthermore, aggressive drivers are less likely to yield to cyclists at intersections or crosswalks, putting riders at even higher risk of spinal cord damage, broken bones, and other life-threatening injuries. 

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving habits include eating, texting, and multitasking while driving. These distractions cause drivers to take their eyes off the road, potentially missing critical visual cues that could prevent an accident.

With Chicago's notoriously busy streets and heavy traffic, distractions are even more dangerous for a bike rider. Distracted drivers may not see people riding bikes in their blind spot or fail to stop at an intersection, leading to a collision with the cyclist. It is crucial for all road users, including cyclists, to remain alert and avoid distractions while operating a motor vehicle.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving leads to slower reaction times, decreased coordination, and impaired judgment. These delayed responses mean cyclists in bike lanes, intersections, and other busy areas are at higher risk of being hit by an impaired driver.

Moreover, impaired drivers are more likely to drive recklessly, further increasing the chances of a bicycle accident. While Chicago has strict laws against impaired driving, it is still a prevalent issue on city roads and continues to be a significant cause of bicycle accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue, commonly experienced by truckers or those who work long hours, is a huge concern in bicycle accidents in Chicago. Fatigued drivers aren't just at risk for falling asleep and swerving into a bike lane; they are also less alert and may fail to notice a cyclist on the road.

As a result, cyclists are at higher risk of being struck by fatigued drivers passing them by or opening their doors along the side of the road. Furthermore, driver fatigue often results in impaired decision-making abilities, making it more difficult to react quickly and avoid collisions with bike riders.

Failure to Yield

Yield laws in Chicago require drivers to give pedestrians and cyclists the right of way in crosswalks, intersections, and other designated areas. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to follow these laws, leading to many bicycle accidents in the city.

Additionally, some people may not understand or be aware of yield laws for bicycles specifically. This confusion increases the risk of bike lane accidents. When hit by a moving car that fails to yield to a bike rider, cyclists run the risk of serious harm, including Traumatic Brain Injuries, paralysis, and even death.  

Improper Turns

Any turn presents danger for cyclists, but improper turns are especially hazardous. When a driver fails to signal or misjudges a cyclist's speed, they may turn in front of the rider, causing an accident.

Furthermore, large trucks making wide right turns pose a significant risk to cyclists. Truck drivers may not see riders in their blind spot and turn into them while completing their turn. As a result, riders, pedestrians, and even other cars are at risk of being hit by a turning truck, often resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.

Dooring

Dooring accidents are common in Chicago, where tight parking spaces and heavy traffic make it difficult to see oncoming cyclists. This type of collision results in severe injuries, reduced mobility, and even death.

Parked cars are the primary cause of dooring accidents. However, the rising use of rideshare apps has also contributed to these types of collisions. Uber and Lyft passengers may open their doors without checking for cyclists, causing them to collide with the door.

Bad Roads

Traffic safety for all vehicles, motor or otherwise, depends on road quality. Bad roads, particularly potholes and uneven pavement, cause cars to swerve, creating potential hazards for oncoming cyclists.

Furthermore, road construction signs and barriers can limit the space motor vehicles and bikes have between each other, increasing the chances of an accident.

Though Chicago is enhancing bike safety through its Neighborhood Greenways program, construction hazards in its implementation could pose a risk in areas where bike traffic and motor vehicle presence are high.

Injuries That May Result From a Bicycle Collision

The lack of bike lane safety measures, reckless driving, and subpar bicycle infrastructure means cyclists are at risk of some pretty severe injuries if involved in an accident, including:

  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Road rash
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic Brain injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Internal organ injuries

Physical damage isn't the only potential harm bicycle riders face in the city. The emotional and psychological toll of being involved in a bicycle accident is significant, especially when involved in a hit-and-run crash, knocked into oncoming traffic or parked cars, and pinned against concrete barriers.

Long-Term Effects of Bike Accident Injuries

Ideally, accidents between motor vehicles and bikes require no more than minor repairs to the bicycle and some scrapes or bruises for the rider.

However, many bike accidents in Chicago result in long-term problems that have a significant impact on a cyclist's life, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of a limb
  • Cognitive issues
  • Memory loss
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve damage
  • Vision problems
  • PTSD

These long-term injuries significantly impact a person's quality of life, making it difficult to continue working, participating in activities they enjoy, and functioning independently.

Furthermore, long-term issues exacerbate financial strain, potentially creating a vicious cycle of increasing medical bills and lost income that can total millions of dollars over a lifetime.

Taking Action After Suffering Injuries in a Bicycle Accident

Even with the best bicycle safety measures, accidents can still happen. If you have recently been involved in a bike collision and suffered injuries, follow these tips to help protect your health, rights, and finances:

  • Follow up with a medical professional. Paramedic care may not fully assess and treat all accident injuries. It is wise to make additional visits to your primary care provider so they can detect delayed symptoms or underlying injuries that may have been missed on the scene.
  • Get a police report. No matter the severity of an accident, you should report it to the authorities to get official documentation of the accident. Police reports are valuable evidence when filing a claim for damages or seeking compensation.
  • Gather as much evidence at the scene as possible. Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your bike. Get contact information from any witnesses or other parties involved.
  • Document everything. From medical visits to pain levels to lost earnings, keep a thorough record of all your injuries and expenses related to the accident. This information will be valuable when seeking compensation with insurance companies or the at-fault party.
  • Contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer. Whether you need help negotiating with insurance companies or litigating your case in court to seek fair compensation for your injuries, an experienced personal injury lawyer is a valuable ally for bike riders hit by a car door, oncoming traffic, or bad drivers. Most provide a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose by speaking with a lawyer.

Remember to report the accident to your health or car insurance company as soon as possible. If you've hired a lawyer, forward all correspondence or messages to them rather than interacting with the insurance company directly. This will help ensure you are not taken advantage of and receive the full compensation you deserve. 

Compensation After a Bike Collision

Chicago allows bike accident victims to recover compensation for injuries, damages, and losses for reasons including but not limited to:

  • Medical costs 
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Property damage
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Wrongful death

In cases where TBIs, spinal damage, and other serious injuries occur, the victim may also be entitled to compensation for:

  • Long-term care
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Loss of quality of life

The total compensation varies greatly and typically depends on multiple factors, including but not limited to:

  • Your overall health at the time of your accident
  • The severity of your injuries
  • How your injuries have affected your quality of life
  • The total amount of your medical bills
  • Whether you'll require medical treatment in the future
  • The total amount of your lost wages
  • Whether you can return to work
  • Any other monetary or non-monetary loss you suffered directly from your crash

While calculating damages is not an exact science, previous successful bike injury cases have resulted in compensation ranging from a few thousand to millions of dollars. Victims and their families should seek legal counsel and representation to better understand the compensation they can recover after a bike accident.

Rely on a Chicago Bike Accident Attorney

Gary Annes, Bike Accident Attorney near Chicago, IL area
Gary Annes Bike Accident Lawyer in Chicago

The lack of physical protection, bike infrastructure, and city-wide awareness of cyclists makes biking in Chicago risky, even on the best of days. But, when accidents happen, you can rely on a Chicago bike accident lawyer to help you navigate the legal process and fight for your rights as a cyclist.  

From investigating your accident and gathering evidence to calculating damages and negotiating settlements, Chicago personal injury lawyers can handle all aspects of your case with diligence and compassion. They understand the unique challenges that cyclists face on the road and have a deep understanding of local laws and regulations to help build a strong case for your claim. 

With only two years to file a personal injury claim in the state of Illinois, it is essential to act quickly and seek legal representation as soon as possible following a bike accident. Otherwise, you may risk losing the opportunity to receive compensation for your injuries and damages. 

You don’t have to handle your bicycle injury claim alone. Contact Abels and Annes, P.C. online or by phone at (312) 924-7575 to schedule your free consultation with a Chicago personal injury lawyer and get the compensation you deserve. 

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

Abels & Annes, P.C.

Address: 100 N LaSalle St #1710,
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (855) 529-2442
David Abels Author Image

David Abels

Partner

David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

Author's Bio

You Might Be Also Interested In

Who Is at Fault If…

Bicyclists rarely ride directly into cars. This would be dangerous for the rider and contrary to common sense.…

View Post

Common Bicycle Accidents

Common bicycle accidents include being hit by a motor vehicle, falling or running off the road due to…

View Post

Losing a Loved One in…

Losing a loved one is never easy – especially if their death was fully preventable. Sadly, that is…

View Post