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Bike Infrastructure to Create Economic Development Throughout the City Says Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorney
Having seen far too many accidents involving preventable injuries and fatalities on our roadways, the bicycle accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. support Chicago’s continuing efforts to address safety issues associated with bicycling, through its integration of bike infrastructure. In addition to safety, however, bike infrastructure is expected to have a profound impact on the city’s economic development. Our bicycling accident attorneys recognize that although the economic impact of bike infrastructure may not be immediately apparent, the long-term benefits of investing in such projects, greatly outweighs any government funding put forth in accomplishing Chicago’s infrastructure goals.
Of course there are the obvious economic benefits such as job creation associated with the materials and construction necessary to complete bicycling infrastructure projects, however, there are many other less obvious benefits as well. As stated by the League of American Bicyclists’ Policy Director Darren Flushce in his publication Bicycling Means Business: The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure, “The evidence demonstrates that investments in bicycling infrastructure make good economic sense as a cost-effective way to enhance shopping districts and communities, generate tourism and support business.”
The simple fact is that people who travel via bicycle, as opposed to motor vehicle, are more likely to make use of the local businesses that surround them. Parking is a common barrier to the economic success of a business, who typically share limited parking spaces with a plethora of other local businesses. Every Chicagoan knows that finding a parking space for a motor vehicle can be an arduous task in our highly populated city. However, parking a bicycle is much easier, partly due to the increase in bike corals created through bike infrastructure projects in recent decades. Consequently, bicyclists, who are able to easily access local businesses, without having to be concerned over parking, may be more likely to patronize such establishments. Commenting on the overall effect of bike infrastructure to local businesses, Mr. Flusche, in the aforementioned publication, points out:
“The City of Chicago also notes that businesses like bike corals because their storefronts become more visible, lots of bikes parked out front makes the business look popular, they attract the attention of bicyclists, drivers, and pedestrians, they open up the sidewalk to foot traffic, and they provide a buffer between vehicles and propel at sidewalk cafes.”
Further bike infrastructure, supports the economic development of bicycle related industries through the purchase of bikes, as well as bike accessories such as helmets and cycling gear. Further, an increase in bicycling, also means an increased need for bicycle repair and maintenance facilities. According to the Department of Transportation’s Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020, a key goal in the city’s plan is to provide a bicycle accommodation with a half mile of every Chicago resident. Such accommodations, many of which offer bicycle rentals, simultaneously promote tourism by providing cyclists with ease of access to close-proximity rental facilities.
An additional economic benefit to bike infrastructure is the increase in property values that can be expected to occur as a result of the decrease in traffic and congestion. Because protected bike lanes often require the utilization of travel lanes formerly occupied by motor vehicles, many motorists, will choose alternate routes, thereby reducing the traffic for many of the city’s residential neighborhoods. Further, implementing neighborhood bike routes offers residents and potential home buyers, especially bicycle enthusiasts or individuals with small children, with the peace of mind that a particular neighborhood is a safe and secure location to ride a bicycle. As provided in Chicago’s 2020 Cycling Plan,
“The goal of Neighborhood Bike Routes is to create slow, safe streets that will in turn be low stress bikeways. Neighborhood Bike Routes will be designed in close collaboration with the neighbors who live on these streets. Each neighborhood Bike Route will require a unique design, and what is appropriate in one neighborhood may not work in another.”
The Chicago bicycle accident and injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., look forward to the many benefits that bike infrastructure offers to our city. Under the current bike infrastructure project, construction will occur in three phases, with the final phase to begin in 2018 and begin with an assessment of the overall impact of recently implemented changes in order to determine what changes are necessary to fill remaining gaps in the network. Until the plan’s completion, the bicycle accident and injury attorney encourage bicyclists to practice defensive cycling. However, in the unfortunate event that you or a loved one are involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to seek legal representation to ensure protection of your legal rights.