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Designated Bicycle Lanes—Changes to Infrastructure in Chicago Expected to Improve Safety for Bicyclists Says Injury Attorney
Bicycling can be particularly dangerous in heavily populated areas. Chicago is one of the most coveted cities for bicycling enthusiasts, however, it is also one of the most dangerous. Fear of safety is the most commonly reported concern for current and potential bicyclists alike. However, considerable improvement to Chicago’s bike infrastructure has occurred in recent decades. The Chicago bicycle accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. take note of a slight decrease in injury and fatality as the city implements changes to its bike infrastructure, and remain optimistic about the effect that additional safety improvements will bring to the city’s cyclists.
Chicago’s bike infrastructure has come a long way since the faint, or ‘disappearing’ white lines, which barely separate bicyclists from the motor vehicles traveling on the same roadway. Protected bike lanes, some of which separate bike lanes with a parking lane, and others, with thermoplastic barriers, are amongst the many recent bike infrastructure implementations. Although a parking lane barrier, can clearly afford more safety, thermoplastic barriers also improve safety, when compared to painted-only, and therefore unprotected, bike lanes. As reported in Chicago Mag in a recent article, Chicago Leaps to the Fore in Bike Infrastructure With Protected Downtown Lane, commenting on the safety of the twelve block and approximately one mile long protected bike route between Polk and Kinzie:
“As it turns out, infrastructure really matters. You change of injury drops by about 50 percent, relative to that major city, when riding on a similar road with a bike lanes and no parked cars. The same improvement occurs on bike paths and local streets with designated bike routes. And protected bike lanes – with actual barriers separating cyclists from traffic – really make a difference. The risk of injury drops for riders there by 90 percent.”
The attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. support recent and continuing developments in Chicago which seek to encourage bicycling as a safe alternative means of transportation. However, there are still many improvements that can be made, as has been demonstrated by other large cities which have implemented bike infrastructure plans that are both comprehensive and fully integrated. For example, New York, Portland, and Vancouver, have greatly improved bicycle safety, as well as assisted in promoting the use of non-motorized transportation through providing ease of access to commonly utilized businesses and facilities. As a beneficial consequence of such efforts, a simultaneous resulting contribution to economic development has occurred. The Chicago accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. encourage such economic growth, so long as bicycling safety issues remain the primary concern.
While Chicago can’t protect every roadway upon which our city’s bicyclists travel, implementation of plan involving alternative route resolution, which affords consideration to frequently accessed or necessary businesses and facilities, certainly appears to be a step in the right direction for Chicago residents. Nevertheless, many individuals who have expressed the desire to use bicycling as an alternative means of transportation, remain concerned regarding the safety risks associated with sharing the roadway with automobiles. The Chicago bicycle accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zniemer, P.C. feel that such concerns are valid, and will continue to be until the city’s bike infrastructure plan is completed in 2020. In the meantime, therefore, bicycle enthusiasts are encouraged to make use of the bike infrastructure currently in place throughout the city.