Bicycling has been popular for hundreds of years in the United States, including in Illinois. Today, children are not the only bicyclists that a driver of an automobile may encounter. In fact, the number of adults cycling for pleasure or sport is increasing every year, as is the number of Illinois workers who chose to commute by bike.
And with increased bicycle riding comes more accidents and injuries. This is a reality the bike accident lawyers at Abels and Annes are very aware of.
Making Cycling Safer to Prevent Bicycle Accidents and Injuries
In response, heavy bicycle areas like Chicago have created bicycle-only lanes of traffic, protected bike lanes, bike-sharing programs, as well as increased availability of bike parking and space for bikes on public transit. Despite these safety increases, bicycle accidents remain an extremely serious form of personal injury. The very nature of an unprotected cyclist vs a car leads to a situation in which the cyclist is almost surely going to suffer severe injuries or worse.
The surge in bicycling is happening so fast that many cities and drivers are struggling to adapt. When drivers are careless or otherwise distracted, accidents with cyclists can occur. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Illinois Secretary of State reported the following bike accident statistics for the year 2017:
National Bicycle Accident Statistics
- There were 783 bicyclist fatalities across the nation
- 2.1% of all traffic crash fatalities were bicyclists
- Age 47 was the average age of a cyclist killed on the road;
- Males were 8 times more likely to be killed than females
- 37% of fatal bicycle accidents involved alcohol
Illinois Bicycle Accident Statistics
- There were 2,689 injuries on bikes in Illinois
- 390 sustained serious injuries in Illinois
- There were 26 cyclist fatalities in Illinois
- 53 bicyclists killed were age 14 and under;
- Among bicyclists age 65 and older, there were 139 fatalities;
Increasing in Risk of Adult Injuries from Bike Accidents
The average age of cyclists killed has been increasing over the past few decades. Experts believe this is because of increased use of bicycles by older Americans, not a decreased use among children. Unfortunately, the traditional risk faced by children still exists. Many kids are injured or killed on a bicycle every year.
It is important for every driver to realize that bicyclists have the same right to ride on Illinois roads as drivers of cars. Therefore, drivers must share the roads with the bikers. By paying attention, looking for bicyclists, and acknowledging the rights of bicyclists, accidents and serious injuries are much less likely to occur.
When an accident with a bicyclist does occur, one of the most common injuries to the cyclist is a head or face injury. These are not only common but also very serious and often deadly.
Wear a Helmet to Prevent Serious Injury
The best way to prevent a head injury while bicycling is to always wear a properly fitting helmet. Studies repeatedly show that helmets reduce the chance of death in an accident. In fact, 91 percent of riders who were killed in 2010 were not wearing helmets.
Despite the benefits, only a small percentage of riders chose to wear helmets in Illinois. In most of the state, it is up to the rider to decide whether to wear a helmet.
Unlike some other states, Illinois does not have a mandatory helmet law that covers all riders. Some cities and municipalities require helmet usage by some riders, mostly children under the age of 16. But the majority of cities have no such regulation, leaving it up to riders and parents to decide what is best.
Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney at Abels & Annes
Though helmets are known to prevent many injuries, the best way to keep cyclists safe is to prevent accidents from occurring. With the same rights as other motorists, bicyclists can make legal claims for any injuries they sustain. If a bicyclist sustains injury through the negligence of another, a financial recovery may be possible.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Chicago bicycle accident, request a free consultation. Call (312) 924-7575 to speak to a lawyer now.