In general, a bicycle is a low impact exercise. That means bikers can get many tremendous benefits while subjecting their bodies to minimal wear and tear. This is one of the reasons why cycling is so popular, and why 30% of the American population owns a bike.
The good news is that cycling is getting safer; since 1995, the number of fatalities from bicycle accidents has dropped nearly 20%. However, we aren’t out of the woods yet. 17,000 cyclists are killed and injured in road accidents every year, and that is still far too many individuals. 75% of fatal collisions happen in urban areas, and 80% of all biking accidents occur in broad daylight, with clear visibility. Living in Chicago, we need to be especially cognizant of the bicycles we share the road with, and take measures to ensure that everyone remains safe. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
One of the first things any bicyclist should do to keep safe is minimize the risk they impose upon themselves, and that starts with always being sober and alert while riding your bike. Earlier this week, The Chicago Tribune reported that a highly intoxicated 24-year-old cyclist was hit and critically injured by two vehicles on Lake Shore Drive. According to police, the man was riding northbound on Lake Shore in the Lakeview East neighborhood when a Mitsubishi sedan swerved into him, throwing him under the car. When a nearby driver stopped in the right lane to assist the man, matters got worse; as people attempted to help the man, an approaching Honda Civic had to swerve to avoid the stopped vehicles, resulting in it colliding with both stopped vehicles as well as the downed bicyclist. Police say alcohol was a major factor in bringing about the accident. The injured cyclist was transported to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition.
Bicyclists are no exception when it comes to driving under the influence, and situations like this remind us just how much we risk when we operate a bike, motorcycle, or vehicle after drinking. Bereft of airbags, crumple zones, and steel enclosures to use as protection, elderly riders are far more susceptible to serious traumatic injuries, and it is much more likely that complications from these injuries could lead to death. Additionally, as we stated above, it is not uncommon for these accidents to occur in broad daylight. As a bicyclist or driver, it is important to remember that your ability to clearly see another person doesn’t necessarily mean that they can see you, or that they are looking for you. Practice defensive driving and riding when you are on the road, and always have the awareness to react when necessary. This may not guarantee that you will avoid an accident altogether, but it will certainly lessen its severity.
A 20% decrease in fatalities is a good start, but it is up to all of us to ensure that bicycle fatalities continue to wane. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, or you have questions about another type of injury lawsuit, feel free to call us. Our lawyers are always available for a free consultation.