The New York Times discussed a study that looked at the correlation between pedestrian injuries and bicycles. Usually our Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys focus on the damage that cars can do to people, however it is also important to realize that a pedestrian can acquire serious injuries from being struck by a bicycle. The study reported that, from 2007 to 2010, approximately 1,000 pedestrians were hospitalized after being struck by bicyclists. An alarming 55% of accidents occurred in an urban city.
This study is just the beginning, because it only surveyed pedestrians who were already hospitalized; there surely are other pedestrian-cyclist accidents that were not included in the study because they did not go to the hospital. Some states are even passing new laws to make reporting bicycle-pedestrian accidents mandatory. This will allow authorities to develop new rules to reduce the occurrence of this type of accident.
It is also important to look at where the accident occurred, so better signage and infrastructure can be implemented to better protect both the bicyclists and pedestrians. It would be beneficial to ordain bike lanes separate from motorists and pedestrians to make streets and roads safer. Our Chicago bicycle accident lawyers have seen a number of new bike lanes such as this, including one on Kinzie Ave. close to our office. We would be curious to see if this change has reduced the number of pedestrian-bicycle accidents in the area, because these clearly marked lanes draw attention to the presence of bike traffic. Comparably, car accidents account for a much higher number of pedestrian injuries. But, this does not mean that bike accidents and safety should be ignored.
According to FoxNews, some cities are also planning to start bike-sharing programs where bikes can be rented and deposited, in order to encourage cycling. With more bicycles on the streets, it will be crucial for these cities to educate the public on all aspects of safe cycling. Chicago has a bike-share program in place, but just this week the City announced that this program will be expanded
Safety education and infrastructure investments are being made continuously to protect motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians who share the road. The Illinois Rules of the Road states “bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other road way user” and it is important to keep that in mind. The Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road also states the bikes have to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are on sidewalks or crosswalks, to slow down and go around them, or give them an audible signal to make your presence known. In many places, including Chicago, cyclists are not allowed to bike on sidewalks.
Our Illinois bicyclist and pedestrian attorneys advise our readers to pay attention to to pedestrians when cycling. Bicyclists should pay attention to bicycle safety laws and regulations in their city to make sure that they are protecting themselves, and pedestrians that they share the road with. Contact our Illinois bicycle attorneys with any questions.