Chicago is a big, beautiful city known for its many attractions, including architecture and food. Millions of individuals live, work, and commute in the city every day. Numerous individuals ride bicycles to and from their destinations, but riding bikes in the city can prove dangerous.
So, where are the riskiest places to ride a bike in Chicago? While there are specific areas that are more dangerous than others, bicycle accidents can truly happen anywhere. Connect with bicycle accident lawyer when you need a legal help.
Locations Bike Accidents Are Likely to Occur in Chicago
Chicago is a large city, and bicycle accidents can happen just about anywhere at any time. However, bike collisions are more likely to occur in the following areas.
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
While these are some of the most dangerous intersections in the city, remain vigilant at every intersection you cross while on a bicycle, as intersections are some of the locations bike accidents are most likely to occur.
An arterial road is an urban road that sits below a freeway and carries traffic between the busiest parts of a 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.
Some of the neighborhoods where accidents are more likely to occur 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 Bike Lanes
Surprisingly enough, 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 bike lanes in the city of Chicago include:
- Milwaukee Avenue
- Damen Avenue
- Halsted Street
- Wells Street
- Clark Street
Chicago has about 280 miles of bike lanes, but very few of these miles, only about 40, offer cyclists more substantial protection.
What Makes Chicago so Dangerous for Bicyclists?
Chicago is a busy city with constant movement. Over 2.5 million people live in the city, making it the most populous city in the midwest and the third largest city in the United States.
Countless individuals rely on alternative means of transportation within the city, like bicycles, to commute and get around day in and day out. While drivers should pay closer attention and respectfully share the road with cyclists, that is not always the case.
With so much traffic in and around the city, bicyclists constantly run the risk of getting hit by cars and other vehicles. The city makes efforts to promote bicycle safety and make it easier and more efficient for cyclists to ride around the city, but the risks and dangers are ever-present.
Common Causes of Bike Accidents
Bicycle accidents happen for similar reasons as vehicle accidents. These types of collisions often occur as a result of driver negligence.
The following are some of the most common reasons bike accidents happen.
Speeding is one of the primary causes of accidents on the road. It is dangerous driving behavior that countless drivers engage in every single day.
When drivers speed, they are not only putting themselves at risk but also others sharing the road. Speeding heightens the risk of losing control of the vehicle, increases stopping time and distance, and makes substantial injury more likely. When a speeding driver hits another car or person, the force caused by high speeds is enough to severely injure victims.
Aggressive driving encompasses many behaviors, including following too closely (tailgating), unsafe lane changes, and weaving in and out of lanes. When a person drives aggressively, they’re often speeding to get to their destination quicker or experiencing road rage.
Distractions are plentiful while driving, but it’s important to ignore them and maintain focus on the road. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy for some drivers.
A distraction may be visual, like texting, manual, like eating, or cognitive, like daydreaming. It’s easy to become distracted and take your eyes, hands, or mind off of driving, but doing so, even for a second, can result in a collision.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only dangerous but also against the law. Every state has laws regarding impaired driving, making it a criminal offense.
When a person is under the influence, driving safely is nearly impossible. Becoming distracted or falling asleep behind the wheel is more likely, and alcohol or drugs can negatively affect a driver’s decision-making.
Fatigued driving can affect a person’s cognitive ability to operate a vehicle. In fact, some believe driving while fatigued can be just as bad, and sometimes even worse, than driving while impaired.
Drivers who are extremely tired or sleepy are more likely to easily become distracted, make bad decisions, or have slower reactions.
Failure to Yield
State laws require drivers to yield the right of way in certain circumstances. For example, when a driver is turning at an intersection, in most cases, they must yield the right of way to pedestrians or bicyclists crossing the road. Failure to yield often results in collisions and injury to others.
Yielding laws also exist for bicyclists in an effort to keep roads safe.
Improper turns often refer to left turns. When a driver is making a left turn at an intersection, they must either turn when signaled or wait for a break in oncoming traffic to do so.
If a driver does not look to ensure no vehicle or bicycle is coming, they leave room for accidents to occur. Improper turns can result in serious injuries to bicyclists, as these accidents often happen with a forceful impact.
Injuries That May Result From a Bicycle Collision
Bicycle accidents can be more devastating than other types of collisions, like car accidents, since bicycles provide cyclists no protection whatsoever. This is one of the reasons drivers should pay extra attention on the road to avoid hitting and injuring bike riders.
Injuries from bicycle collisions can be substantial and, in some cases, even life-threatening, including:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Road rash
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal injuries
The problem with serious injuries is the need for more considerable medical treatment, and medical treatment can quickly become costly. A bike accident victim is left to face issues with their physical health and the financial burdens that come with a collision.
Financial problems are one reason bicyclists seek compensation after an accident. Most victims cannot cover all of the expenses related to a crash and need monetary recovery.
In the most serious cases, a bike accident can result in the victim’s death. If you have a loved one that’s passed away after a bicycle collision, a wrongful death lawsuit can help recover compensation to cover the unexpected loss of a loved one.
Long-Term Effects of Bike Accident Injuries
When you suffer serious injuries, there is always a risk of long-term consequences on your physical and mental health. The effects you face vary and depend on the type of injuries you suffer.
Some of the common lasting health effects bicyclists often suffer from after a bike accident include:
- Chronic pain
- Loss of a limb
- Cognitive issues
- Memory loss
- Nerve damage
- Vision problems
- Anxiety and depression
The more substantial your injuries, the greater the risk of not recovering fully. In severe situations, bike accident victims may succumb to their injuries and pass away.
Taking Action After Suffering Injuries in a Bicycle Accident
If you experience a bike accident and sustain injuries, you may have the opportunity to file a claim for compensation. The route you take toward financial recovery depends on the circumstances of your accident.
When another driver hits you, you can likely file a claim under their car insurance. This is called a third-party insurance claim.
Filing an insurance claim means the driver’s insurance company will review the details of your accident and conduct an investigation. Once they have all the information and details they need, they can render a decision to either accept or deny your claim.
You can negotiate with the insurer to get the compensation you need to properly cover your injuries and expenses stemming from the crash. If you’re unable to negotiate, or the insurance company denies your claim, you can consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a personal injury suit is a formal process through the court. A bicycle accident attorney can take on every task associated with your case and help you obtain the fairest possible outcome.
Compensation After a Bike Collision
When you sustain injuries in a bicycle accident, it’s only fair to pursue some financial recovery to help cover your expenses and losses. Damages serve to compensate you for any harm or financial loss you incur as a result of your collision.
After a bike accident, you may be eligible for damages, such as:
- Medical costs for past and future medical treatment
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning potential
- Property damage
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Scarring or disfigurement
Certain factors dictate the type of damages and the total amount of compensation you can pursue.
Some of the details your bike accident attorney will examine to calculate the value of your case include:
- 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, if you’ve lost time from work
- Whether you can return to work
- Any other monetary or non-monetary loss you suffered directly from your crash
Calculating your damages is one of the most important parts of a bike accident claim. You may not know how much compensation you can recover, but an experienced bicycle accident lawyer can determine the extent of your losses and help you pursue the fairest possible result for your case.
Rely on a Chicago Bike Accident Attorney
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, you’re likely left to deal with your physical recovery and mounting medical bills. The last thing you want to do is file claims and deal with insurance companies. Fortunately, a skilled bicycle accident lawyer can help with everything you need.
From investigating your accident and gathering evidence to calculating damages and negotiating settlements, you can count on your bicycle accident attorney to do it all. There is no challenge too great for your lawyer.
It is worth noting that you have limited time to act after a bike collision. In Illinois, you only have two years from your accident to file a lawsuit for compensation. Whether your case requires filing suit or not, it’s better to act quickly and give yourself enough time.
You don’t have to handle your bicycle injury claim alone. Let a reputed personal injury law firm in Chicago provide the legal guidance you need to help you get the recovery you deserve. This will ensure maximum physical and financial recovery in your case.