Arlington Heights Bicycle Accident Attorneys

With its “small-town charm and big city amenities,” the appeal of Arlington Heights “lies in the combination of friendly neighborhoods and an abundance of cultural, educational, entertainment and recreational opportunities.” Although the village has long been recognized for its convenient access to nearby suburbs, and its transit-oriented focus, there has been a noticeable gap in the implementation of strategic village-specific bike planning since initial plan adoption in 1988, and subsequent revision in 1996. The Arlington Heights bicycle accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. are pleased to see that the village’s outdated bicycle-pedestrian plan is receiving some much needed attention in the form of a comprehensive update.

According to Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) Project documents for Arlington Heights, “[t]he Village Board, with the help and encouragement of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, has been seeking ways to increase bicycling and walking as forms of transportation and recreation.” Although bicycle planning has not been entirely neglected, given the village’s adoption of Chicago’s Complete Streets Policy and continuing efforts to improve bicycle ordinances, more development is needed. “…[W]ithout an up-to-date, central document to guide the Board and Village staff, only incremental progress has been made towards turning Arlington Heights into a true bicycle and pedestrian friendly environment.”

These 2014 project documents go on to say that:

“...Currently, the Village has a network of signed on-street bicycle routes, some off street paths and one short bike lane. The pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown and neighboring residential areas are unfortunately surrounded by arterial roads with little or no bicycle accommodations and an inconsistent or incomplete sidewalk network. Safe crossings for bicyclists and pedestrians are often absent.”

As bicycle accident attorneys, we interpret this to mean that, at least for now, cyclists in Arlington Heights must ‘travel at their own risk.’ In other words, plan your route carefully, and remain cautious and observant of your surroundings, especially when crossing streets. In addition, cyclists should always remember that regardless as to where infrastructure is in place, there is always the risk of a dooring accident along roadways that have vehicle parking. Further, although Arlington Heights Bicycle Ordinances do not require cyclists to wear helmets, the use of protective head gear is one of the best ways to reduce the potential for serious injury in the event of a biking accident.

Fortunately, with funding approved in October of 2013, and June 2014 approval of the resolution to accept planning services for a bicycle-pedestrian plan, there are a number of improvements expected to occur over the next few years. As part of the village’s efforts to encourage cycling, and introduce residents to safety initiatives, as well as development and planning efforts, Arlington Heights held its first community bike ride in June of 2014. According to village estimates, over a hundred cyclists participated in the ten mile ride from Recreation Park to Harmony Park.

While we encourage the village’s efforts to make Arlington Heights more bike friendly, and are optimistic to see the manners in which bike planning may improve safety, we also recognize that it will take time to see a notable impact. Until then, the Biking Accident Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. hope that motorists will maintain awareness of the hardships and dangers that bicyclists in Arlington Heights face, and as a result will do their part to safely share our roadways.

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