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Skokie Bike Accident Attorneys
The Bicycle Collision Lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. represent victims injured as a result of a biking accident that occurred in Skokie, or a surrounding area in Cook County. With dozens of parks, and over 45 miles of bike paths and routes throughout the community, bicycling in Skokie has become a popular recreational pastime for many village residents. And with its adoption of the Bicycles Facilities Plan more than a decade ago, there has been a noticeable increase in the use of bicycling as a means of transportation.
Although there are a number of active bike routes within the city, a view of existing infrastructure, as of 2014, demonstrates a clear lack of designated bike lanes. As injury attorneys, we find this highly concerning, given the superior safety benefits offered by protected lanes, in comparison to unprotected lanes. Designated bike lanes are not only identified by signage and pavement markings, but segregate cyclists from vehicle traffic. Bike routes, on the other hand, provide bicyclists with little more than directional markers.
However, like many other Chicago suburbs, Skokie can be said to be in a state of transition, with regard to its bike planning efforts. According to the Bikeway System Plan, significant improvements are expected to occur, with completion dates ranging from 2014 to 2018. Perhaps most noteworthy, is the incorporation of several east-west bike lanes that run parallel to the village’s first designated bike lane along Howard Street. In addition there are a number of bike lanes, which will connect existing lanes and routes, and further contribute to providing ease of access and networking within the village.
With the execution of community development bike planning efforts well underway, residents of Skokie will hopefully begin to see significant improvements to increase both accessibility and safety over the next several years. And though we support such efforts, the bike accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of some critical gaps in Skokie’s overall infrastructure, which we see as problematic—especially in light of the ever-increasing presence of bicyclists throughout Chicago and its neighboring suburbs.
In example, there seems to be a lack of full networking that provides access to protected bike lanes, yet an overabundance of bike routes, many of which offer little or no protection. Further, and perhaps more importantly, there are very few connecting routes that offer cyclists a safe means to or from areas outside Skokie. In particular there seems to be an issue of the lack of access to downtown Chicago from northern suburbs, which we previously discussed in ‘Have Some Areas of Chicagoland Been Left Out of Bike Planning and Infrastructure Efforts?’
Despite deficiencies in existing infrastructure, Skokie—which was the first community in all of the U.S. to gain national accreditation for its Fire, Police, and Public Works Department—has made a concerted effort at promoting community awareness of bike safety issues. The Skokie Police Bicycle Safety Brochure, is one such example. In addition, Skokie’s Bicycle Ordinances set forth regulations that are not only highly comprehensive in nature, but, in many ways, are more stringent in comparison to other Chicago suburbs. For example, Skokie is amongst the small handful of Illinois communities that requires cyclists under the age of 16 to use helmets.
While, as the official website for Skokie provides, “…the Village has made significant progress [in] implementing the recommended improvements of [the] plan and now provides more convenient and accessible routes for bicycling throughout Skokie,” there is still a long a long way to go. With the construction of the Skokie Valley Trail beginning in 2014, and the increase in ridership throughout Chicagoland in general, the prevention of bicycling accidents requires a collective effort, between motorists and cyclists, in taking the necessary measures to share the road safely.